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Michigan will end its contract with Aramark for prison food services

Prison bars
flickr user Thomas Hawk

The state of Michigan is terminating its contract with Aramark to provide prison food services.

The state and Aramark say the decision to end the $145 million contract was mutually agreed upon.

Aramark has faced fines and other sanctions since the company took over prison food services in December of 2013.

Problems included inappropriate relationships between inmates and Aramark, and maggots in kitchen areas.

The food services contract will now go to Trinity Services Group - another company that bid on the contract.

Gov. Snyder issued the following statement on today’s announcement:

“Michigan will now partner with Trinity Services Group to provide food service for prisoners in all state-run correctional facilities. We will remain focused on moving forward. Michigan will continue to realize significant cost savings from this new contract. Our departments will work tirelessly with both companies to ensure a smooth, collaborative transition as well as quality service, security and safety within the facilities during the change.”

State officials say Trinity Services Group operates prison food services in 44 states.

The director of the Michigan Department of Corrections released a statement:

“Prison food service is integral to the safe and secure operations of Michigan’s prison system,” said MDOC Director Heidi Washington. “I look forward to working with our new partners at Trinity and am confident in their commitment to provide quality services.”

Michigan lawmakers put prison food services out for private contract in 2012. The state said it has saved 10% each year on prison food services since then.

The contract with Trinity has to be approved at a public meeting of the State Administrative Board.

The transition from Aramark to Trinity is expected to be completed by Sept. 9, 2015.

*This post is being updated.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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