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State done using prison contractors

Posted at 9:12 AM, Feb 08, 2018

Private food services, inside Michigan prisons, has been a controversial issue for years.

Wednesday Governor Rick Snyder said, "the experiment is over" after four years of problems with Aramark, and Trinity Food Services. As part of his new budget plan that was unveiled Wednesday, state workers will now be hired for prison food services.

FOX 47's Alani Letang asked the governor why he's pulling the plug on privatization.

FOX 47's been told of maggots in food, drugs smuggled into prisons and staff having sexual contact with inmates.

While the head of the corrections department wouldn't get into those gory details, she did specify another concern. "The main challenge is keeping the positions filled, and having that consistent, reliable workforce, that's necessary," said Heidi Washington, Michigan Department of Corrections Director.

What's also necessary, Governor Snyder said, was learning from his administration's mistakes. So before going back to their old stomping grounds, having the state fund prison food services. "Let's learn some lesson, let's see if we can be more effective, efficient and accountable in terms of what we in terms of how we do food services within the institutions," said Governor Snyder.

When Letang asked about if the quality of food within institutions was a factor in not renewing a contract with Trinity Food Services, Washington told Letang, "when we examined the cost associated with it and our experience we both agreed that it was both in our best interest" said Washington.

Governor Snyder added that to "continue that process would probably be as much or more as what we would be paying to do ourselves, so let's just go back to doing it ourselves."

Other key points of the governor's final budget plan involve school funding and road work.
Governor Snyder is asking lawmakers for a "per-pupil" increase, for all school districts, with a bigger increase for the lowest funded districts.

Snyder has proposed putting 325 million dollars toward road and bridge work, that's more than double what a 20-15 transportation funding deal calls for. The total budget includes 56.8 billion dollars in spending.