Statement from state Rep. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) on prison food service privatization leading to gang problems:
LANSING — Last week, the Detroit Metro Times published an article that revealed concerns from Michigan prison guards about the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) deliberately hiding information related to the lax control by Trinity, the private company that runs food service operations in Michigan’s prisons, which has allowed gang members to work in kitchens and take control of the food supply. In response, state Rep. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit), Democratic vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement:
“My Democratic colleagues and I have been saying for years that privatizing food service in prison kitchens was a disaster, and now we’ve heard directly from the guards in our prisons that it is far worse than MDOC let on. Like Aramark before it, Trinity’s policy to hire low wage, low skill workers with little training and supervision, shows they are putting profits before the safety and security of our prisons. These failed policies have no place in good government management.
“While Gov. Snyder has finally agreed to end the failed prison food privatization experiment when Trinity’s contract runs out, Senate Republicans are pushing a new scheme to corporatize nurses. If privatization failed in the kitchen, it won’t work in a clinic with drugs that can be stolen and sold, and needles and other sharp items that can be used as weapons just as kitchen utensils were under the privatized workforce. It’s time for my Republican colleagues to give up these efforts to privatize services and go back to allowing professional state workers to do the job and do it right.”