LANSING – State Representative Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) was concerned today to learn of 32 Aramark employees – roughly 10 percent of their hires – who have been banned from Michigan state prisons for inappropriate relationships with prisoners. Aramark is a Philadelphia-based food provider that has a private contract with the Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC).

“Safety is the number one concern at prisons across our state, and to know that contracted workers put that safety in jeopardy by having intimate relations with prisoners is troubling,” Singh said. “When Governor Snyder privatized this industry he laid off hard working Michiganders and gave jobs to a private corporation from Philadelphia. He promised more efficiency, but what we got is another disaster.”

In December, the state eliminated 370 jobs by awarding a $145 million prison food contract to Aramark. The company is now being fined $98,000 for nearly 300 instances of not providing the agreed-upon meals and 12 instances of staff being too friendly, sometimes intimate, with inmates.

“It’s disheartening to learn that jobs that could have gone to those who needed it the most have been abused by this company,” Singh said. “The Governor replaced experienced MDOC employees with a private company only concerned with a bottom line and no concept of the standards required to operate in Michigan.”