Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another prison privatization nightmare in Ohio

In the latest prison privatization nightmare, Ohio officials banned employees of a private food-service contractor from prisons for violating security, smuggling contraband and relationships with inmates ('unspecified,' but we can guess).

We've brought to you plenty of other prison privatization nightmares herehere and here. On Saturday, The Columbus Dispatch brought us this new one. The State of Ohio gave Aramark a $110 million contract to feed state inmates, replacing state employees who belong to the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.

Since then, according to the Dispatch:
The vendor that feeds state prison inmates was fined $142,100 yesterday for contract violations that include failing to hire enough workers to prepare and serve meals... 
The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association said prison employees have logged “thousands of incidents,” including poor food quality and small portions since Aramark took over prison kitchens. 
The union is taking the state to arbitration beginning next week over what it contends was the improper privatization of food service. The move cost 17 union employees their jobs; the remainder moved to other prison positions... 
Forty-four (Aramark employees) were removed because of “inmate relationships” and 16 were banished due to security violations or bringing contraband — tobacco, lighters, marijuana and cellphones — into prison. 
Another state document shows that an Aramark employee was fired in December after admitting she had sex with a Lebanon Correctional Institution inmate. 
Aramark has fired at least 192 of its prison kitchen employees since it took over food-service operations on Sept. 8, records indicate. 
Aramark’s contract requires it to provide a minimum of 414 workers. The company had 387 employees working in the 26 state prisons as of April 4, partially prompting yesterday’s $142,100 fine.