press release


News from Progress Michigan

June 15, 2015

Contact: Sam Inglot,

Not Cutting It: Aramark Employees Left Knife Unsecured Before Going Home

Similar negligence by private contractor led to prison break in New York

MICHIGAN — According to emails obtained by Progress Michigan, Aramark workers at the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson failed to safely secure a cake knife in the kitchen before leaving for the day. The knife was later recovered, but emails show that this isn’t the first time a kitchen tool had been left unsecured by Aramark employees.

The news is even more troubling in the wake of a prison escape in New York State, where two prisoners were able to usetools that were left out by private contractors to help them escape.

The Aramark incident occurred February 2, 2014. The situation is detailed in emails that Progress Michigan obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Dean Laginess, a MDOC employee wrote the following in an email:

“While I was conducting my final round in food service the evening of 2/2/14, I discovered that tool 235 (cake knife) was missing. Aramark staff had already left he building; however, I was able to get a hold of Mr. Clark (Aramark) at the Info Desk before he left the facility and he returned to help look for the knife. During that search, he found that knife under some pans in the bakery prep area which is around the corner from the tool room. Sgt. Royalty was notified when I noticed the tool missing and again when it was found and secured.” 

According to the email chain, this is not the first time that a tool was left out by Aramark employees. The contract monitor, Kevin Weissenborn, wrote in that same email chain: “We have had instances reported where a stove was left on, tools missing, etc, and Aramark employees had all left for the day.”

The last email in the chain, from Michael Anderson, an Aramark official, says that the Aramark employee failed to follow basic “steps associated with tool check in procedure” and would be “disciplined.” Anderson wrote that “as an added security measure tool check in will be conducted by 2 members of the Aramark team for night closure procedure.”

“In the wake of what is happening right now in New York, the question has to be asked, has Aramark improved or are they still allowing potentially deadly weapons to fall into the hands of inmates?” questioned Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “This is yet another disturbing revelation in a long line of problems that have resulted from Aramark operating in our state’s prisons. Thankfully, this particular incident didn’t end with tragedy or a public safety crisis, but how much more will Gov. Snyder tolerate from his failed privatization experiment?”

The emails can be viewed here.



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