A prison food vendor that underfeeds inmates and prepares food next to maggots could have its contract extended in Ohio.
Several lawsuits allege that Aramark Correctional Services, a Philadelphia-based company, violates prisoner rights by failing to provide enough food and preparing food in unsanitary conditions. On multiple occasions, maggots were spotted in Ohio prison kitchens. Facilities reportedly ran out of main courses, and inmates were fed white bread and peanut butter instead. Employee absenteeism was also cited as a major problem in the past, while many workers had illegal sexual encounters with inmates. Collectively, Aramark’s contract violations forced the state to fine the company $272,000, although its endemic service failures extend to other parts of the country as well.
Nevertheless, the Department of Administrative Food Services, which oversees correctional food, wants to extend Aramark’s contract for an additional two years. Under the old contract, which expires on June 30, the state paid $3.71 to feed each inmate every day — a price that appeals to the state agency.
This is not the first time prisons have been accused of mismanaging foodstuffs. Previously, inmates have been given dog food, worms, and moldy and rotten food. Officials often punish inmates by serving them bland nutraloaves of food scraps that were left over from past meals. And prisons owned by private companies like Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) have also received complaints for failing to provide adequate food and medical services. Indeed, the first privately owned state prison in the U.S. — located in Ohio — did not meet food, sanitation, or hygiene standards.