Ohio Prisons Privatize Food Service

Jun 21, 2013

The state says it’s farming out its food service operations in its 26 prisons to an out-of-state contractor, saving $28 million over two years.

But Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports, the prison workers union says conditions could get dangerous inside those lockups.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says the contract with Pennsylvania-based Aramark will help it deal with a 60 million dollar shortfall. But Ohio Civil Service Employees Association president Chris Mabe says there’s a price for that, if prison workers who have safety training are removed.

“When you take out that security level of our current food service workers that are security trained and replace them with non-trained individuals, it leads to possibly very dangerous situations inside of facilities.”

Mabe says there was a near-riot at the Noble Correctional Institution in eastern Ohio in 1999 because of portion sizes. The prisons department says there was never a riot situation, and that inmates were angry about other things too. DRC says of the more than 430 workers who’d be affected, over 300 have been found other positions or left through attrition.