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News from Progress Michigan
August 18, 2016
Michigan Should Follow DOJ Example and End Privatization in Prisons
DOJ to end use of private prisons, citing safety and cost concerns
MICHIGAN — The Department of Justice announced today that it plans to end the use of federal private prisons, citing safety and monetary concerns. The move should serve as guidance to Michigan lawmakers to end the use of privatized services in Michigan prisons, which have been wracked with problems associated with the for-profit service contracts.
“[Private prisons] simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in a memo that was released Thursday.
With the DOJ signaling a move away from privatized prisons, Michigan should follow suit with its privatized prison food service contract with Trinity. The Florida-based prison profiteer took over food service in state prisons after numerous issues arose with Aramark, a Philadelphia-based company.
“Privatization of food services in Michigan prisons has been a complete disaster. This move by the DOJ should serve as a wake-up call to Michigan’s elected officials to end the Republican-led experiment of outsourcing public services,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “We’ve seen what happens when for-profit companies are allowed to operate in our prisons. They create a dangerous environment for corrections officers, prison staff, and the prisoners themselves. We applaud the Department of Justice for this common sense move and urge Michigan lawmakers to act as soon as possible.”
Progress Michigan released a detailed report in 2015 showing how the state failed to hold Aramark accountable for a number of grievances, including fraternization with prisoners, drug smuggling, maggots in the food, and a bevy of other issues.