Skip navigation
Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual - Header

Cutting Corners in America's Criminal Justice System - How Corrections Companies Harm Prisoners and the Public in Pursuit of Profit, ITPI, 2016

Download original document:
Brief thumbnail
This text is machine-read, and may contain errors. Check the original document to verify accuracy.
APRIL 2016

CUTTING CORNERS IN AMERICA’S
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
How Corrections Companies Harm Prisoners and the Public
in Pursuit of Profit

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		

Contents
INTRODUCTION.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1
CASE STUDY 1: IDAHO

Corrections Corporation of America Cuts Correctional Officers
and Safety Equipment.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2
CASE STUDY 2: OHIO

Corrections Corporation of America Cuts Investments in Staff. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2
CASE STUDY 3: FLORIDA

Corrections Corporation of America Cuts Jail Maintenance. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4
CASE STUDY 4: MISSISSIPPI

GEO Group Cuts Correctional Officers, Training, and Facility Maintenance .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4
CASE STUDY 5: CALIFORNIA

Community Education Centers Cuts Qualifications for Staff at Halfway House .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5
CASE STUDY 6: PENNSYLVANIA

Corizon Cuts Medical Staff.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6
CASE STUDY 7: IDAHO

Corizon Cuts Mental Health Services.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7
CASE STUDY 8: ARIZONA

Wexford Cuts Pharmaceutical Services.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7
CASE STUDY 9: MICHIGAN

Aramark Cuts Kitchen Employee Compensation and Training.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 8
CASE STUDY 10: FLORIDA

Aramark Cuts Food Quality and Healthiness.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9
ENDNOTES.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 10

This brief is part of In the Public Interest’s Programs Not Profits campaign.
Each year, the private corrections industry collects hundreds of millions of
dollars in profits from taxpayers. To strengthen safety and justice in our communities, we should invest that money in
improving and expanding treatment and rehabilitation programs. Programs Not Profits is a multi-year campaign that
promotes replacing private profits that hurt incarcerated people, correctional officers, and taxpayers, with publicly funded
and managed programs that provide job training, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment. Follow along and
get involved at: www.programsnotprofits.org.

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
1

Introduction

T

oday, private corrections companies hold contracts to operate hundreds of prisons, jails, and
detention centers.1 Corrections companies also hold contracts to provide services, such as healthcare

and meal preparation, to private and public correctional facilities.
Often times, companies win these contracts by claiming that they will manage the service in ways that
are more “efficient” than the government. Some companies also claim that they can reduce the costs to
taxpayers. However, in an effort to provide the service with fewer resources while also maximizing profits,
companies often cut corners, reducing the quality, effectiveness, and accessibility of the service.
Our review of outsourcing at correctional facilities found that private corrections companies – often
under the guise of cost savings – cut corners in the following ways:

•	 Failing to hire a sufficient number of correctional officers to ensure the safety of prisoners;
•	 Failing to hire a sufficient number of health care professionals to provide for prisoners’
medical needs;

•	 Lowering the compensation paid to correctional officers and kitchen staff;
•	 Hiring poorly qualified halfway house staff;
•	 Reducing the trainings for correctional officers and kitchen staff;
•	 Neglecting facility maintenance and equipment; and
•	 Lowering the quality and healthiness of the food.
By cutting corners, corrections companies harm prisoners, employees, communities, and taxpayers.
At Idaho Correctional Center prison, instead of hiring correctional officers, Corrections Corporation of
America purposely relinquished control of the facility to prison gangs, according to a lawsuit filed by
prisoners. In Minnesota, from 1998 to 2013, 30 prisoners either died or suffered severe injuries after

CORRECTIONS COMPANIES THAT CUT CORNERS REAP
LARGE PROFITS
Corrections companies have reaped profits by cutting corners in ways
that reduce their spending on services. While the exact profits achieved
by companies on the specific contracts studied in this brief are not known,
the companies have reported millions of dollars in profits earned annually
from overall operations. From 2012 to 2014, CCA and GEO Group, which
earn revenue almost exclusively from corrections contracts, reported $653

Corizon, the health care company for the state’s
prisons, denied or delayed needed medical care.
In Michigan, Aramark, the company that cooked
meals for the state’s prisons, reduced its labor
costs by hiring low-skilled employees at low wages
who couriered contraband, engaged in intimate
relations with prisoners, hired prisoners to assault
others, and acted in other ways counter to prisoner
safety and rehabilitation.

million and $434 million in profits, respectively.2 (The profits Aramark and

The following brief discusses these case studies

Corizon earned from corrections contracts are unknown.3) In 2014 alone,

and others to illustrate how corrections companies

CCA awarded $234 million in dividends to its shareholders, equivalent to

cut corners in ways that result in the provision

$3,366 per prisoner in its facilities.4 GEO Group awarded $170 million in

of low-quality services and ultimately harm the

dividends, equivalent to $2,771 per prisoner in its facilities.5

overall public good.

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
2

CASE STUDY 1: IDAHO

Corrections Corporation of America Cuts Correctional
Officers and Safety Equipment

I

n 1997, the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) finished construction of the Idaho Correctional
Center – a new 2,080-person prison south of Boise – and granted management to Corrections

Corporation of America (CCA).6

CCA lowered its operating costs and increased its profits by cutting corners on staffing, hiring fewer
correctional officers than needed for a prison of that size. Investigations in the past few years have
uncovered a history of staff shortages, with important security posts left continually unfilled. In 2013,
CCA admitted to falsifying records that hid 4,800 hours of uncovered shifts during a seven-month period
in the previous year – equivalent to the time that would have been worked by four fulltime correctional officers.7 According to an IDOC audit, CCA understaffed the facility by as
many as 26,000 hours in 2012 – equivalent to the time that would have been worked by 13
full-time correctional officers.8 A federal judge found CCA in contempt of court for hiding
information on the falsified hours.9
A lawsuit filed in 2012 on behalf of Idaho Correctional Center’s prisoners contends that,
in order to hire fewer correctional officers and reduce spending, CCA relinquished control
of the facility to prison gangs, leading to violence and serious prisoner injuries.10 Another
lawsuit filed on behalf of prisoners in 2010 contends that understaffing contributed to
high levels of violence, which earned the prison the nickname “gladiator school.”11
CCA’s understaffing decisions also put the correctional officers who were working at the
facility at risk. According to Sargent Leonard King, a former CCA employee who is suing
the company, one night time guard was expected to oversee 250-300 prisoners, which
jeopardized the correctional officers’ safety. King was assaulted five times before leaving
the company. In addition, CCA supplied their correctional officers with empty cans of
pepper spray and broken radios and told them “to just fake it” when needed.12
In February 2014, CCA paid $1 million in penalties for understaffing the prison.13 Five months later, the
Department of Correction ended its contract with CCA and assumed management of the facility.14

CASE STUDY 2: OHIO

Corrections Corporation of America Cuts Investments
in Staff

I

n December 2011, Ohio sold the Lake Erie Correctional Facility to CCA and then contracted with the
company to manage the incarceration of its 1,800 prisoners.15 The facility management contract was

designed to save the state $3 million annually.16

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
3

When CCA won the contract, it laid off experienced, unionized employees.17 The company also instituted
pay cuts, which likely contributed to a high turnover rate of 20 percent.18
Since then, CCA has failed to hire and train new staff to meet the needs of the
prison. More than a year after the start of the contract, for example, CCA had yet
to fill positions for a vocational instructor and nurse practitioner.19 Many of the
new employees, according to a review by the Correctional Institution Inspection
Committee (CIIC), lacked the training and experience to maintain order in the facility.20
In 2012, the state deducted $573,000 from CCA’s disbursements due to low staffing
levels and other contract violations.21
With a shortage of qualified staff, violence plagued the prison. CIIC found that between 2010 and
2012 (before and after the prison was privatized), prisoner-on-prisoner assaults increased 188 percent,
and prisoner-on-staff assaults increased 306 percent.22 CIIC also found that CCA’s employees used
unnecessary physical force and failed to sanction prisoners for misconduct.23 In addition, prisoner
complaints about gangs, assaults, and other problems doubled after CCA began managing the facility.24
Understaffing allowed the contraband market to flourish. The low number of security officers, paired
with a shortage of cameras and equipment, left the prisoners inadequately supervised, and accomplices
from outside would routinely throw contraband over the facility’s fences to prisoners waiting inside.25
According to a released prisoner, “heroin was like it was legal in there” and could be delivered to
prisoners’ bed sides. An audit from January 2013 reported that a heroin overdose was the likely cause of
death for one prisoner.26 More than 35 percent of prisoners reported that procuring drugs was “easy.”27
The contraband couriers increased crime in the surrounding town of Conneaut. In 2012 – the first year of
CCA management – the police received 229 calls related to the prison, which is almost four times more
than the previous five years combined, straining the resources of the police department.28

CORRECTIONS COMPANIES CUT CORNERS ON STAFF RETENTION AND DEVELOPMENT
Corrections companies often cut corners in ways that leave their employees less trained than their public sector
counterparts.
Many corrections companies cut costs by reducing employee wages. Industry wage data show that in 2015, correctional
officers employed by private prisons earned a median annual salary of $32,290. By comparison, the median annual salary for
correctional officers employed by federal, state, and local governments was $41,160.29
The low wages can cause employees to leave their jobs in search of other, higher-paying work. In West Virginia, for example,
where 48 percent of state prison correctional officers quit within their first year, exit interviews have shown that most leave as a
result of low salaries.30
Once the corrections companies hire new employees, the companies cut corners on training and onboarding. A 2004 article in
the Federal Probation Journal found that, on average, correctional officers employed by private companies undergo 174 hours
of pre-service training. Public sector officers, on the other hand, are required to undergo 232 hours of pre-service training, 58
hours more than their private sector counterparts.31
As a result of corrections companies cutting these corners, many of their employees lack the know-how to create a safe environment.
In addition, correctional officers with low wages and little training are more at risk of becoming contraband couriers.32

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
4

CASE STUDY 3: FLORIDA

Corrections Corporation of America Cuts
Jail Maintenance

W

hen Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) managed Hernando County’s jail,
north of Tampa, Florida, the company cut corners by neglecting routine building

maintenance, jeopardizing safety at the facility. CCA failed to repair rusted doors, replace
damaged windows, seal cracks in the walls and floors, fix damaged ceiling tiles, and patch
leaks in the roof, even though maintaining the facility was a requirement in its agreement
with the county.33 (See picture.) When the sheriff’s office assumed management of the
facility in 2010, the county commissioned a report that found CCA responsible for roughly
$1 million in deferred maintenance costs.34
“If [CCA] had performed routine maintenance as
they [sic] should have and as their [sic] contract
required,” said Major Michael Page who led the
sheriff’s office take-over of the jail, “this building
would look 10 times better.”35 The county withheld
CCA’s final payment of $1.86 million for failing to
perform the maintenance that was required by the
contract, and CCA sued in response.36
The county and CCA settled the case in 2012 for
$100,000, forcing the county taxpayers to cover the
outstanding maintenance costs.37

Rusted door at Hernando County Jail. Reprinted with permission of The Tampa Bay Times. All Rights Reserved.

CASE STUDY 4: MISSISSIPPI

GEO Group Cuts Correctional Officers, Training, and
Facility Maintenance

I

n August 2010, GEO Group began management of the East Mississippi Correctional Facility and cut
corners by underinvesting in staffing, training, resources, and equipment.38 These decisions jeopardized

the safety of prison staff, who suffered severe injuries from prisoner attacks, including stabs, bites, and
head trauma. In December 2011, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated
the facility and cited GEO Group for numerous workplace violations. Specifically:

•	 GEO Group did not employ a sufficient number of correctional officers to prevent
assaults from prisoners. For example, one of the housing units that required eight
correctional officers was staffed by only three.39 OSHA’s review specifically cited low
staff levels as reasons for prisoner attacks on correctional officers.40

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
5

•	 GEO Group’s neglect of building maintenance created unsafe conditions for both prisoners and
correctional officers. Cell doors with broken locks could not be opened by correctional officers from
outside, but could be opened by prisoners from inside.41

•	 OSHA found that GEO Group had not trained their correctional officers in basic self-defense.

42

In total, OSHA fined GEO Group more than $100,000 for workplace violations. OSHA concluded that
the company either knew its decisions were in violation of the law or had “plain indifference to worker
safety and health.” OSHA also cited GEO Group for three “serious” violations, meaning that OSHA found
“substantial probability that death or serious physical harm from a hazard about which the employer
knew or should have known.”43
In 2012, GEO Group ended the contract citing financial underperformance.44

CASE STUDY 5: CALIFORNIA

Community Education Centers Cuts Qualifications for
Staff at Halfway House

I

n 2010, Community Education Centers (CEC) operated a residential reentry center, or “halfway house,”
in Long Beach for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). According to

Richard Ortega, the facility’s director at the time, CEC cut corners by employing unqualified staff. For
example, the center’s clinical director lacked a college degree, which was inadequate to
manage the treatment of the more than 100 residents.45 CEC also compensated the clinical
director roughly $13 to $14 per hour, approximately 64 percent less than the wages of
similar jobs in California.46
An audit conducted by CDCR in December 2010 cited CEC for a litany of problems
stemming from a lack of supervision, many that prevented residents’ rehabilitation. At
night, residents would scale the fences, travel to liquor stores, and buy drugs. During the
day, residents would then fail drug tests, but CEC officials would discourage the facility
staff from evicting them. “It was a mess,” according to Ortega.47 However, the lack of
trained staff prevented Ortega from fixing the problems uncovered by the state’s auditors.48
Audits conducted by HealthRight, the nonprofit that oversaw CEC’s facility on behalf of the state, also
reported problems that prevented rehabilitation. Auditors found that residents engaged in drug use,
alcohol consumption, and violence, and that CEC provided inadequate mental health services and failed
to keep proper records. In 2012, HealthRight did not renew CEC’s contract for the facility.49

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
6

CASE STUDY 6: PENNSYLVANIA

Corizon Cuts Medical Staff

I

n September 2013, Corizon Correctional Healthcare began a contract with Allegheny County in
Pennsylvania to provide health care at a Pittsburgh jail. Since then, Corizon has cut corners and
increased profits by reducing the number of medical staff at the facility. For example,
the company downsized from 4.5 physicians – as employed by the previous non-profit
health care provider — to 1.5 physicians.50 According to an audit by the Allegheny
Controller six months into the contract, Corizon staffed 78 percent of its shifts below the
required minimum. The understaffing averaged 50.5 hours per day, equal to more than
six of the required 47 employees assuming 8-hour shifts.51
The jail’s medical care has been plagued with problems stemming from understaffing.
According to the Controller’s audit:

•	 For 32 percent of prisoners who needed medical care when they entered the facility, Corizon
either failed to provide the care or provided the care but failed to keep a record.52

•	 Corizon either failed to examine or failed to record exams for 23 percent of new prisoners. (Corizon
must give physical exams to prisoners incarcerated in the jail for more than 14 days.) Corizon
provided exams for 60 percent of the prisoners outside the 14-day window.53

•	 Corizon either failed to evaluate or failed to record evaluations on the medical and mental health
of 83 percent of prisoners before they spent time in solitary confinement.54

•	 Corizon failed to provide prisoners with re-entry health services. For example, for 71 percent
of prisoners in need of medication, Corizon either failed to provide the medication or failed to
document that it provided the medication when the prisoner left the facility.55
According to the audit, these problems were
“most likely attributable at least in part to
Corizon’s failure to apply adequate personnel
resources to the provision of inmate healthcare
services.”56
Corizon’s negligent medical care has had dire
and fatal consequences for prisoners. In one
instance, a man who entered the jail over a
weekend died when Corizon forced him to
wait for anti-seizure medication until Monday,
according to his attorney. In total, seven
prisoners at Allegheny County Jail died in 2014 –
double the national jail average on a per-person
basis.57

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
7

CASE STUDY 7: IDAHO

Corizon Cuts Mental Health Services

C

orizon Correctional Healthcare provides for the medical care of prisoners at the Idaho State
Correctional Institution (ISCI), a 1,688-bed facility for long-term sentences south of Boise.58 Amid

allegations of medical malfeasance in 2011, a judge ordered an assessment of the prison’s health care.59
The report, conducted in late 2011 and early 2012, reprimanded Corizon for its business practices,
declaring the medical treatment of its prisoners as “cruel and unusual” and unconstitutional.60
The report found that Corizon did not hire sufficient psychiatric staff to meet the prisoners’
mental health needs. Corizon employed the equivalent of one full-time psychiatrist and
one part-time psychiatrist (working 10 hours per week) to provide care for 474 prisoners on
psychotropic medication.61 According to the American Psychiatric Association’s standards
for prisons, Corizon should have employed at least three to six full-time psychiatrists.62
As a result of cutting corners on hiring psychiatrists, Corizon also cut corners on the
provision of mental health care. Corizon prescribed psychotropic drugs to prisoners with
conditions that should have been treated with therapy. Corizon provided an insufficient
number of weekly sessions to prisoners attending group therapy. Corizon also failed to keep up-to-date
mental health records for the prisoners.63
The court’s report concluded that “the psychiatrist cannot be expected to have enough time to safely
evaluate and treat patients.”64 In one instance, the court’s doctors found that a prisoner, admitted to the
infirmary for a harmful reaction to antipsychotic medication, had not been evaluated by a psychiatrist
in the 14 days since his admittance. As a result, Corizon forced the prisoner to suffer the two weeks in a
catatonic state. The court’s report also uncovered that Corizon used mentally ill prisoners instead of staff
to monitor other sick prisoners at risk of suicide.65

CASE STUDY 8: ARIZONA

Wexford Cuts Pharmaceutical Services

I

n July 2012, Wexford Health Sources assumed management of medical care for Arizona’s 40,000
prisoners in a state-wide three-year $349 million contract.66
State audits conducted less than two months into the contract found that Wexford
cut corners on providing for prisoners’ medication needs. Staff members knowingly
administered expired medications to prisoners across the state but took no actions to fix
the problem, according to the company’s corporate pharmacist.67
State audits also discovered that Wexford was potentially failing to provide prisoners
with their prescribed medications due to problems with expired prescriptions and refills.
After the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) informed Wexford of the problem, the
company failed to deploy the necessary staff resources in a timely manner to check that

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
8

prisoners were receiving proper medications. To check whether Wexford was administering the correct
drugs, ADC staff were forced to step in and review the medical records themselves. Around the same
time, a prisoner at the correctional facility in Florence hanged himself with a sheet after not receiving his
psychotropic medication for 23 days.68
In total, the state audits cited Wexford for 20 contract violations. In addition to the aforementioned
medication issues, the citations included a “quantitative decrease in routine institutional care” and
“staffing levels [that created] inappropriate schedule gaps in on-site medical coverage.”69
As a result of the audits, ADC also fined Wexford $10,000 for exposing approximately 100 prisoners to
hepatitis C when a nurse reused a dirty syringe to administer insulin.70
In yet another instance of Wexford cutting corners, a recent report by the American Friends Service
Committee revealed that Wexford denied a senior needed surgery. When a 69-year-old prisoner
developed a hernia in his testicular sac and his testicle swelled to the size of a grapefruit, cutting off
circulation, hospital doctors prescribed surgery. However, Wexford denied the procedure in an attempt
to avoid paying for the operation’s costs.71 ADC ended its contract with Wexford in January 2013, after
which the prisoner was able to receive the surgery.72

CASE STUDY 9: MICHIGAN

Aramark Cuts Kitchen Employee Compensation
and Training

I

n December 2013, the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) signed a three-year $145 million
contract with Aramark to feed the state’s 43,000 prisoners.73 The deal was estimated to save the state

between $36 million and $48 million over three years.74
Upon taking over food services from the state, Aramark immediately lowered its operating
costs by cutting kitchen workers’ compensation in half to about $11 per hour and ceasing
some safety trainings.75 Consequently, the new, less-qualified employees violated security
rules, broke the law, and acted in ways counter to prisoner rehabilitation. They couriered
in contraband – such as marijuana – and engaged in intimate relations with the prisoners,
which included exchanging love letters, kissing, and fellatio.76 According to a letter from
MDOC to Aramark in February 2014, “Aramark employees are inadequately trained” and
“have a lack of tool control, specifically knives and a whisk, which is very dangerous as
these items have come up missing.”77 In May 2015, an Aramark supervisor was indicted for
attempting to hire a prisoner to arrange an assault on another prisoner.78 In total, from March 2014 to

October 2014, MDOC cited Aramark for 485 instances of jeopardizing prisoner safety and facility security,
according to an analysis by Progress Michigan.79
In the first seven months of Aramark’s contract, 74 employees were banned from Michigan’s prisons.80
By comparison, in the five years before Aramark’s contract – when public employees provided food
services for the prisons – about five workers were banned.81

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
9

The state has also cited Aramark for unsanitary conditions, food shortages, and unauthorized food
substitutions.82 For example, at Cooper Street Correctional Facility south of Lansing, Aramark replaced
four ounces of sausage with three ounces of hot dogs, failed to clean caked food off of floor mixers, and
cooked vegetables without washing them first.83 From March 2014 to October 2014, Progress Michigan
found that MDOC cited Aramark for 2,945 food quality and sanitation issues.84
The state fined the company $98,000 in March 2014 and $200,000 in August for contract violations.85 In
July 2015, the state terminated the contract.86

CASE STUDY 10: FLORIDA

Aramark Cuts Food Quality and Healthiness

F

rom July 2001 to January 2009, Aramark held the food service contract for most of Florida’s
correctional facilities.87 The Florida Department of Corrections’ (FDOC) stated goal in signing the

contract was “to reduce its administrative and personnel costs by consolidating food service operations
with a single contractor.”88
Aramark lowered costs and profited by cutting corners on the quality and healthiness of the
food. The company reduced spices and fillers. The water in which vegetables were cooked and
grease from meat were considered part of the servings.89 A 2007 audit by FDOC concluded that
“service levels [had] deteriorated both in relative quantity and in quality.”90
Aramark also replaced turkey breast with “turkey ends and pieces” and removed beef almost
entirely from the menu, often cooking the turkey instead. The FDOC audit found that replacing
beef (which cost $1.50 per pound) with turkey (which cost $0.57 per pound) reduced Aramark’s
operating costs by $4.9 million annually.91
Some of this “less palatable food,” according to the FDOC audit, directly violated
the agreed-upon menu when the contract was signed. During the request for
proposal period, Aramark explicitly asked, “may ground turkey be used to replace
ground beef in recipes,” to which the Department of Corrections responded, “No. If
the recipe specifies ground beef, then ground beef must be used.”92
The decline in food quality accompanied a drop in the number of prisoners eating
meals. From January 2001 to May 2006, the percent of prisoners attending each
meal fell from 90 percent to 82 percent on average. The FDOC audit found that,
“It is likely that the substitution of less costly and less palatable food products is at
least partially responsible for decreasing inmate meal participation rates.”93

The drop in meal attendance and the replacement of beef with turkey had a significant impact on
padding the company’s bottom line. These cut corners allowed Aramark to save $10.5 million in
operating costs during fiscal year 2005-06.94

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
10

Endnotes
1

	 Corrections Corporation of America operates 61 facilities: Corrections Corporation of America, “See CCA’s Nationwide System of Correctional Centers,” downloaded from www.cca.
com/locations, 28 August 2015. GEO operates 66 facilities in the U.S.: The GEO Group, “2014 Annual Report,” no date. Management & Training Corporation operates 23 correctional
facilities: Management & Training Corporation, “Locations,” downloaded from www.mtctrains.com/locations, 28 August 2015.
2
	 CCA: Corrections Corporation of America, “Form 10-K,” for the fiscal year ended 31 December 2014. Profit calculated from values of the “income from continuing operations” on page
47. GEO Group: The GEO Group, Inc., “From 10-K,” for the fiscal year ended 31 December 2014. Profit calculated from the values of the “net income attributable to The GEO Group, Inc.”
on page 91. Note: CCA and GEO Group receive income from some international facilities.
3
	 Corizon does not publish its profits. Aramark publishes its profits, but does not provide details on the proportion of its profits generated from its contracts with correctional facilities:
Aramark, “From 10-K,” for the fiscal year ended October 3, 2014.
4
	 $234 million: Corrections Corporation of America, “Form 10-K,” for the fiscal year ended December 31 2014, page F-5. $3,366 derived from $234 million divided by the “average
compensated population, which is 69,536, according to page 56 of the 10-K form.
5
	 $170 million: The GEO Group, Inc., “Form 10-K,” for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, page 51. $2,771 derived from $170 million divided by the annual “compensated mandays”
(22,390,904) divided by 365. For information on the compensated mandays, see page 53 of the 10-K form.
6
1997: “Idaho to Take Over Privately-Run State Prison,” USA Today (Associated Press), 3 January 2014 . 2,080-person: Kimberlee Kruesi, “State Takeover of Private Prison on Track,” KBOI2,
19 June 2014. South of Boise: Idaho Department of Correction, “Idaho State Correctional Center,” downloaded from www.idoc.idaho.gov/content/locations/prisons/iscc_icc, 3 June 2015.
7
	 Hannah Furfaro, “Corrections Corporation of America Admits to Falsifying Staffing Records,” Huffington Post (Associated Press), 11 April 2013. “Four full-time correctional officers”
derived from assuming that one correctional officer works 2,000 hours per year.
8
	 “FBI Investigates Idaho Prison run by Private Corporation,” Al Jazeera America, 7 March 2014. “13 full-time correctional officers” derived from assuming that one correctional officer
works 2,000 hours per year.
9
	 American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, “What is CCA?,” downloaded from www.aclu-tn.org/pdfs/Who%20is%20CCA%20Infographic%20source%20page.pdf, 2 June 2015.
10
	“FBI Investigates Idaho Prison run by Private Corporation,” Al Jazeera America, 7 March 2014.
11
	Ibid.
12
	Karen Lehr, “Employees Sue Corrections Corporation of America for Poor Work Conditions,” Scripps Media, 26 January 2014.
13
	See note 10.
14
	Kimberlee Kruesi, “State Takeover of Private Prison on Track,” KBOI2, 19 June 2014.
15
	In December 2011, Ohio sold the facility to CCA and contracted with CCA to manage the incarceration of the prisoners: “Prison Sale Faces Court Battle,” Star Beacon, 21 May 2015. 1,800
prisoners: Sara Shookman, “Prison Problems at Conneaut’s Lake Erie Correctional,” WKYC, 3 December 2013.
16
	$73 million: “Prison Sale Faces Court Battle,” Star Beacon, 21 May 2015. $3 million: Sara Shookman, “Prison Problems at Conneaut’s Lake Erie Correctional,” WKYC, 3 December 2013.
17
	“Prison Sale Faces Court Battle,” Star Beacon, 21 May 2015.
18
	Gregory Geisler, Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, “Correctional Institution Inspection Committee Report on the Inspection and Evaluation of the Lake Erie Correctional
Institution,” 22-23 January 2013 (dates of inspection).
19
	Chris Kirkham, “Lake Erie Correctional Institution, Ohio Private Prison, Faces Concerns About ‘Unacceptable’ Conditions,” The Huffington Post, 2 February 2013.
20
	See note 18.
21
	Laura Bischoff, “Auditors Uncover Problems at Private Prisons in Ohio,” Dayton Daily News, 29 December 2012.
22
	See note 18.
23
	Ibid. According to the report, “staff… at times fail to deploy chemical agents prior to physical force, risking greater injury to both inmates and staff.”
24
	See note 21.
25
	Throw over contraband: “Prison Sale Faces Court Battle,” Star Beacon, 21 May 2015. Shortage of cameras and equipment: Sara Shookman, “Prison Problems at Conneaut’s Lake Erie
Correctional,” WKYC, 3 December 2013.
26
	See note 18.
27
	Sara Shookman, “Prison Problems at Conneaut’s Lake Erie Correctional,” WKYC, 3 December 2013.
28
	Document from the Conneaut City Police posted by The Huffington Post, downloaded from big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/conneautpolice.pdf, 28 August 2015.
29
	Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, “all_data_M_2015” (excel spreadsheet), downloaded from www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm, 30 March 2016. The numbers
reported had an OCC Code of 33-3012 (Correctional Officers and Jailers) and NAICS codes of 561200 (Facilities Support Services) and 99 (Federal, State, and Local Government).
30
	Jeff Jenkins, “Turnover Continues to Be Big Problem in State Prisons, Jails,” MetroNews, 8 September 2014.
31
	Curtis Blakely and Vic Bumphus, “Private and Public Sector Prisons – A Comparison of Select Characteristics,” Federal Probation (journal), Volume 68, Number 1, June 2004.
32
	 Eli Hager, “Job Opening: No Training, Low Pay, High Turnover,” The Marshall Project, 5 June 2015.
33
	John Woodrow Cox and Barbara Behrendt, “Hernando County’s Takeover of Jail Brings Year of Sweeping Changes,” Tampa Bay Times, 27 August 2011.
34
	Barbara Behrendt, “Hernando County, Jail Contractor Reach Settlement over Withheld Payment,” Tampa Bay Times, 24 January 2012.
35
	See note 33.
36
	See note 34.
37
	Ibid.
38
	David Reutter, “GEO Group Pulls Out of Mississippi Prisons,” Prison Legal News, 15 November 2013.
39
	U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Citation and Notification of Penalty” (Inspection Number: 315306357; To: The GEO Group, Inc.), 11 June
2012 (issuance date).
40
	Ibid.
41
	Ibid.
42
	Ibid.
43
	Michael Wald and Michael D’Aquino, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Department of Labor, “Mississippi Correctional Facility Cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for
Workplace Violence and Other Harzards; More than $104,000 in Fines Proposed” (news release), 12 June 2012.
44
	Pablo Paez, GEO Group, “The GEO Group Announces Decision to Discontinue East Mississippi Correctional Facility Contract” (press release), 19 April 2012, available on Bloomberg
Business, downloaded from www.bloomberg.com/article/2012-04-19/ai9L1FMs.MWc.html. See also Erica Goode, “Seeing Squalor and Unconcern in a Mississippi Jail,” The New York
Times, 7 June 2014.
45
	Anat Rubin, “A Record of Trouble,” The Marshall Project, 11 April 2015.
46
	Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists earned a mean hourly wage of $37.05: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational
Employment Statistics: May 2010 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: California,” downloaded from www.bls.gov/oes/2010/may/oes_ca.htm, 17 November 2015.
To the best of In the Public Interest’s knowledge, the job description for “Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists” as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s
Standard Occupational Classification most aptly fits the responsibilities of the clinical director at CEC’s Long Beach facility. Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
“provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation
plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations”: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Standard
Occupational Classification: 21-1092 Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists,” downloaded from www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc211092.htm, 17 November 2015.

CUT TING CORNERS IN AMERIC A'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM 	

		
11

47

	See note 45.
	Ibid.
49
	Ibid.
50
	Greg Dober, “Corizon Needs a Checkup: Problems with Privatized Correctional Healthcare,” Prison Legal News, 15 March 2014.
51
	County of Allegheny, Office of the Controller, “Examination Report on Corizon Health, Inc.’s Compliance with Contract #153946 with Allegheny County for Period September 1, 2013
through February 28, 2014,” 15 December 2014.
52
	Ibid.
53
	Ibid.
54
	Ibid.
55
	Ibid.
56
	Ibid.
57
	Molly Born and Rich Lord, “Two Inmate Deaths Raise Questions on Allegheny County Jail Health Care Contractor,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9 January 2015.
58
	Idaho Department of Correction, “Idaho State Correctional Institution (ISCI),” downloaded from www.idoc.idaho.gov/content/locations/prisons/idaho_state_correctional_institution,
27 August 2015.
59
	Marc Stern, report “in compliance with Order 806 (July 20, 2011) by Judge Windmill, U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, in the case Walter Balla, et al. v. Idaho State Board of
Correction (IDOC), et al.,” Case 1:81-cv-01165-BLW, Document 922, filed 19 March 2012.
60
	Ibid.
61
	Ibid. The report states “Currently… psychiatric staffing is 1.25 FTE.”“10 hours per week” is derived from assuming that a full-time psychiatrist works 40 hours per week.
62
	Ibid. The report states, “APA states that for every 75-150 inmate-patients with SMI who are receiving psychotropic medication, there should be 1.0 FTE psychiatrist or equivalent. Using
this metric, and assuming there are 474 medicated SMI patients, ISCI should have between 3.2 and 6.3 FTE psychiatric staffing.”
63
	Ibid.
64
	Ibid.
65
	Ibid.
66
	Craig Harris, “Prison Nurse Tied to Hepatitis C Exposure at Buckeye Facility,” The Republic/AZ Central, 4 September 2012.
67
	Joe Profiri, Arizona Department of Corrections, letter to Karen Mullenix (Director, Wexford Health Sources) regarding “Written Cure Notification – Contract No. 120075DC,”
21 September 2012.
68
	Ibid.
69
	Ibid.
70
	Joe Profiri, Arizona Department of Corrections, letter to Karen Mullenix (Wexford Health Sources) regarding “Notice of Referral to Take Action – Contract No. 120075DC,”
21 September 2012.
71
	American Friends Service Committee – Arizona, “Death Yards: Continuing Problems with Arizona’s Correctional Health Care,” October 2013.
72
	End contract: Craig Harris, “Arizona Prisons’ Health-Care Contractor Replaced,” The Republic/AZ Central, 30 January 2013. Receive the surgery: Ibid.
73
	Paul Egan, “Former Aramark Worker Charged in Attempted Prison Hit,” Detroit Free Press, 20 May 2015.
74
	Paul Egan, “Food Worker Accused of Trying to Smuggle Marijuana into Jackson Prison,” Detroit Free Press, 20 March 2014. “$36 million to $48 million” derived from multiplying the range
of annual expected savings ($12 million to $16 million) by three, which is the number of years for which the contract lasts.
75
	$11 per hour: Paul Egan, “Kitchen Sex Still an Issue After 1 Year of Aramark,” Detroit Free Press, 14 December 2014. Trainings: Paul Egan, “Kitchen Friendships, Sex Acts Lead to Firings for
Aramark’s Prison Staff,” Detroit Free Press, 29 May 2015.
76
	Paul Egan, “Kitchen Friendships, Sex Acts Lead to Firings for Aramark’s Prison Staff,” Detroit Free Press, 13 July 2015.
77
	Paul Egan, “Michigan Urged to Reject $145M Prison Food Contract Over Safety Concerns,” Detroit Free Press, 19 March 2014.
78
	See note 73.
79
	Progress Michigan, “A Failed Privatization Experiment: Aramark and the Michigan Department of Corrections,” 18 August 2015.
80
	See note 76.
81
	Paul Egan, “Food Worker Accused of Trying to Smuggle Marijuana into Jackson Prison,” Detroit Free Press, 20 March 2014.
82
	See note 73.
83
	Four ounces of sausage and three ounces of hot dogs: Bernadette Trudell, MDOC Contract Monitor, letter to Kevin Weissenborn regarding “Cooper Street Correctional Facility
Review,” 8 September 2014. Caked food on floor mixers: Bernadette Trudell, MDOC Contract Monitor, letter to Michael Anderson, Aramark Correction Services Division, regarding
“Cooper Street Correctional Facility: JCS,” 21 May 2014. Cooked vegetables without washing them: Bernadette Trudell, MDOC Contract Monitor, letter to Michael Anderson, Aramark
Correctional Services Division, regarding “Cooper Street Correctional Facility: JCS,” 23 June 2014. South of Lansing: Michigan Department of Corrections, “Cooper Street Correction
Facility (JCS),” downloaded from www.michigan.gov/corrections/0,4551,7-119-68854_1381_1388-5332--,00.html, 20 October 2015.
84
	Progress Michigan, “A Failed Privatization Experiment: Aramark and the Michigan Department of Corrections,” 18 August 2015.
85
	See notes 73 and 81. Note: Michigan waived the $98,000 fine.
86
	Paul Egan, “Michigan to End Prison Food Deal with Aramark,” Detroit Free Press, 13 July 2015.
87
	July 2001: Office of the Inspector General, Bureau of Internal Audit, Florida Department of Corrections, “Cost-Value Analysis: Aramark Food Service Contract C1927,” 10 January 2007.
January 2009: David Reutter, “Aramark Discontinues, Loses Prison Food Service Contracts,” Prison Legal News,15 October 2009.
88
	Office of the Inspector General, Bureau of Internal Audit, Florida Department of Corrections, “Cost-Value Analysis: Aramark Food Service Contract C1927,” 10 January 2007.
89
	David Reutter, “Aramark Discontinues, Loses Prison Food Service Contracts,” Prison Legal News, 15 October 2009.
90
	 See note 88.
91
	Ibid.
92
	Ibid.
93
	Ibid.
94
	Ibid. $10.5 million was derived from summing $5.6 million (the cost savings from the decrease in meal attendance for fiscal year 2005-06) and $4.9 million (the annual cost savings
from replacing ground beef with ground turkey).
48

2040 S Street NW, 1st Floor  |  Washington, DC 20009  |  InthePublicInterest.org
	facebook.com/InthePublicInterest
	

@PubInterest

Any errors or omissions in this report are the sole responsibility of In the Public interest. Design and layout by Terry Lutz.

 

 

Federal Prison Handbook - Side
PLN Subscribe Now Ad 450x450
CLN Subscribe Now Ad 450x600