September 21, 2014

Elyria
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Prison food provider again subject of complaints

Officials said about 1,000 inmates at a central Ohio women’s prison dumped their lunches in the trash after another discovery of maggots in the serving area.

Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told The Columbus Dispatch that inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville got rid of their meals Tuesday after a report circulated about fly larvae found under a stainless-steel serving line during a pre-meal inspection.

Aramark Correctional Services, the food service provider in the Marysville prison, also provides food to inmates at Grafton and Lorain Correctional institutions in Grafton.

State Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, a longtime Aramark critic, wants the state to terminate the company’s contract with the state. Lundy said Aramark’s problems aren’t new. He said they overcharged the state when hired to provide food services about 10 years ago, leading to the contract being terminated.

Lundy said Tuesday’s incident in Marysville is another example of the dangers of privatization. He said private, for-profit companies like Philadelphia-based Aramark seek to maximize profit at the expense of public health and public safety.

“Privatization really is ‘profitization,’ ” Lundy said Wednesday. “It’s all about the profit. It’s not about the product or the service.”

The report of maggots was the second in the Marysville prison and the eighth confirmed case in a state prison this year. The state has twice fined the private vendor, which took over the job of feeding inmates last year for violations ranging from staffing shortages to sanitation issues.

Aramark was fined $142,000 in mid-April, leading Lundy to call for the state to terminate its contract with the food-service provider.

In July, Aramark again was fined — this time for $130,200 — for continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five state prisons observed in June and in July.

Lundy said he understands some taxpayers might not care about the quality of the food that prisoners receive. However, Lundy said taxpayers pay the bills when bad food exacerbates prisoners’ medical conditions.

Lundy said the fine is minimal to Aramark, an international food service company that made $13.9 billion in sales last year, according to its website. Aramark’s contract with the state is $110 million and runs through September 2015.

Numerous reports have documented cases of Aramark running out of main and side dishes over the past several months. Reports also indicate several days when Aramark employees simply failed to show up, cases of unauthorized relationships between inmates and Aramark workers and the reports of maggots.

Ninety-six Aramark employees are banned from working in Ohio prisons, according to the state.

Lundy said bad food has a big effect on prison conditions. He said it causes prisoner unrest, creating unsafe conditions for guards.

Lundy said when he runs into off-duty guards in Lorain County, they frequently mention bad food makes their job harder.

“We don’t want to be putting anybody’s lives at risk,” he said.

The seven prisons with the most problems, according to the state: Warren, Belmont, Noble, Mansfield, Pickaway, Lebanon and the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.

Reporter Evan Goodenow contributed to this story.


  • oldruss

    At the end of the story, seven prisons are listed as having the most problems (with food service). Are all of these served by Aramark? Are any of their food service run by the state? You specifically mentioned the Grafton Correctional Facility and the Lorain County Correctional Facility also at Grafton, but you did not bother to say if either of those institutions have had problems like the one at Marysville.

    Your entire piece, aside from the discussion of maggots in the serving line, is a promotion for State Sen. Lundy (who, surprise, surprise, is running for county commissioner).

    • stillsleepyeyes

      Hold on there will be more of these one sided stories……………

    • Mark B

      Not to mention that State run food service will be under the State Union , Surprise to see that from a DEM ? Just another Union Payback , or a pump to get them to vote for him .

      • jz

        Like unions or not he is right on this one. Private prisons, [watch some of the documentaries], creates too many conflicts with lawmakers which a watchful citizenry should be ticked off at. It’s not about coddling prisoners or saving money folks. Some serious constitutional issues unless you do not have a problem with the “corporatization” of America or our government becoming more and more an “Oligarchy” rather than 1 man 1 vote.

    • Julie Wallace

      That is not a locally written story. It was written by the Associated Press. Somehow, you and another seemed to have missed that fact and keep calling it “our” story. It appeared in our paper because it involves the prisons, which are a huge employer for our area. But we did not write it.

  • Phil Blank

    I did a news search on Aramark they are known for maggots amongst other things.

  • Sis Delish

    Don’t see any problem with folks in prison dumping food.

    Many free women spend Hundreds of Dollars monthly to lose weight.

    I look at obesity in the Prison Populations as bigger problem then malnourishment, if Mr. Lundy wants to take up a cause for lower intimate health-care costs, IMO.

  • SniperFire

    Base an entire hit-piece story on ‘a rumor was circulated’?

    Talk about yellow journalism. How did this slip by Andrew Young?
    Oh wait. I see it is actually a promotion for Ted Bundy. Pathetic, C-T.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    only if lundy worried that much about homeless hungry people. Oh wait I forgot………he is trying to get them union jobs back………….

  • golfingirl

    “Privatization really is ‘profitization,’ ” Lundy said Wednesday.”

    Yes, Mr. Lundy……private enterprise does rely on profits to stay in business. It is the basis of the economic system in this country.

    I am so tired of his incessant complaining about companies making money, then crying when they leave, if they don’t.

    Let them eat garbage!

    Maybe poor food it will serve as just one more deterrent to continue returning to jail by the same people over and over again!

    • SniperFire

      ‘Yes, Mr. Lundy……private enterprise does rely on profits to stay in business. ‘

      The flaw in his reasoning is that public enterprise requires private enterprise profits to keep it afloat – and more of it.

    • Rtgh123

      Overweight people get water until their BMI is within a healthy range. Prisoners with healthy BMI should get maggot food. Maggots are actually a good source of protein. Golfingirl, I always get a chuckle out of your simpleminded idiocy.

      • golfingirl

        You think there are a lot of maggots in the food now, wait until the government runs the cafeteria.

        The maggots (Politicians) will be there, not only in the food, but in the pockets of the taxpayers!

        Frankly, if they ingest a little worm every now and then….who really cares.

        Here is a “simpleminded” solution for you……stay out of prison and you get to eat whatever you like!

        • Rtgh123

          I really wish you had replied to my comment in another thread. If birth control is a matter of personal responsibility and should not be covered by insurance, then why should a smoker have their lung cancer treatment covered by insurance? It’s a personal responsibility to NOT smoke. Why should an obese person’s diabetes treatment be covered by insurance? It’s a a personal responsibility to not stuff the pie hole all day long. It’s a personal responsibility to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Insurance should not pay for head injuries if the rider was not wearing a helmet. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

          • golfingirl

            I believe I did and I agreed with you.

            Just as staying out of prison is a matter of personal responsibility.

          • Pete

            Only problem with most of your post is that lung cancer and diabetes are not always from overeating and smoking. If a motorcycle rider pays for his insurance than all injuries occurring while riding should be covered if he is not breaking any laws. Birth control is only one I can agree with you on.

  • SniperFire

    ‘ Lundy said taxpayers pay the bills when bad food exacerbates prisoners’ medical conditions.’

    Is this claim substantiated in any way? Aramark has an easy slander and libel lawsuit here.

  • John Davidson

    “It’s all about the profit. It’s not about the product or the service.”

    Most companies that don’t put out a good product or give good service aren’t around very long.

    • Razorback Twou

      Could that be the reason he wants the contract canceled?

    • golfingirl

      And don’t have sales in the $14B range.

      • John Davidson

        Guess I should have added that fact but I thought that it would be rather obvious.

  • GreatRedeemer

    “Lundy said Tuesday’s incident in Marysville is another example of the dangers of privatization”

    Cant wait to see if he is elected a Commissioner. That philosophy of government can do it better is just grand. More taxes, more fat benefits for government employees, while everyone takes a pay cut to fund it.

  • DonMega

    If you don’t go to prison you don’t have to worry about maggots.

  • tomfeher

    I once read where the average person eats 14 pounds of dirt and insects a year. And like rght123 says they are a good source of protein