Prison Food Privatization And Aramark

Posted: August 14, 2011 in Neutral
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Before Governor Steve Beshear (D-KY) came into office, the Fletcher (R) administration privatized prison food for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the contract went to Aramark.

When I was at PeWee in late 2008 and 2009, we ate the Aramark diet.

The diet consists of a weekly average of 2800 calories per day. Anything fresh is extremely rare, and may consist of some occasional shredded lettuce.

Since calories are cheaper than nutrition in this country, even given the large number of calories in this diet, I found myself constantly hungry, and so I supplemented the fat/starch Aramark diet with commissary.

I gained thirty pounds in prison. That was the heaviest I have ever been, and although I have since lost the weight, I was considered skinny by Southern prison standards at that time. Obesity is common in the women’s prison, and it complicates other health conditions such as diabetes, heart problems and orthopedic problems.

Here is an example of the Aramark diet:

Breakfast:

1 c juice (not real juice of course)
1 c hot cereal
2 biscuitrs
2 sausage patties
1/2 oz margarine
1 c coffee
2 sugars

Lunch:

1 sl meat and cheese pizza
1 c spaghetti w/tomato sauce
1/2 c canned green beans
1 sl iced cake
1 c iced tea w/sugar

Dinner:

8 oz cheeseburger casserole
3/4 c canned peas
1/2 c canned greens
2 sl white bread
1/2 ox margarine
2 cookies
1 c fruit drink

Um, okay. There is a note at the bottom of the menu that says this diet meets the daily RDA requirement for 19 to 50 year olds, so that does not take into account the large population of people over 50 (and even over 80 in fact) that Kentucky is locking up these days.

There is another note that says that applesauce will be offered as a substitute for iced cake. No it isn’t. They stopped all that, and I covered it in another blog.

This year, a lawmaker asked the Kentucky Attorney General to investigate the huge private prison food supplier, Aramark.

Here are some of the issues:

According to the audit, Aramark sometimes used margarine and other condiments to make up to 300 calories of its daily requirement of 2,800 calories per inmate. Inmates said margarine was used even in meals such as soup or peanut butter sandwiches, auditors wrote.

Aramark also made last-minute menu substitutions, such as giving inmates four brownie pieces instead of meat; reported using less beans, pasta, rice and potatoes than recipes called for; and kept leftover food in storage beyond acceptable time limits, auditors wrote.

Then there’s this:

At issue is a provision in Aramark’s contract, awarded in 2004 by then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher, that required the company to share internal records with state officials for the purposes of financial audit or program review.

In their report, state auditors said Aramark refused to provide cost-related records they requested to determine whether price adjustments were justified and to evaluate concerns regarding a decline in the quality and quantity of food, among their other purposes.

Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/01/10/1593198/lawmaker-asks-attorney-general.html#ixzz1V1GKQvCs

If you do not find this too interesting, you might be interested to know that Aramark is now involved in school meals as well. Here is Aramark, advertizing its program in Houston:

Do you think it may at least be possible that the giant private food corporation may eventually show its true colors in schools as well?

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