Thursday, December 2, 2010

Where's the Logic?

I rarely write about the companies that provide specialized contracted services to prisons (as opposed to companies that manage entire facility operations), but you should know that they are their own inefficient, despicable mess as well. Linked here is an editorial out of Kentucky that discusses the state's planned decision to renew its contract with Aramark to provide food service to its prisoners. This is the same Aramark that has come under fire in numerous states for cutting corners in its food delivery, often serving rotted and barely nutritious meals to prisoners. Their food service is so bad in fact that it caused riots among prisoners in Kentucky and protests in Georgia over the company's failure to feed them properly. Throughout its history, Aramark has faced numerous allegations such as these, along with allegations of unfair labor and hiring practices. So yeah they're a model company.

Aramark has a $12 million per year contract to feed Kentucky's prisoners, a contract that says the state auditor should basically have complete access to their records of operation. However, when that office requested documents for an audit last year, they of course got a lot of pushback from Aramark, which refused to release everything the state had requested. So much pushback in fact that they are now being investigated for breach of contract. But even with the scant records provided, some of the preliminary findings of the audit include: "billing errors resulting in overpayments running into the tens of thousands of dollars, delays in service caused by food shortages, unapproved changes in menus, questions about the quantity of the food being served and a health department report on a possible outbreak of food-related illness among prisoners."

And the legislature plans on renewing the contract.

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