Denver Metropolis Council Approves Aramark Meal Contract Amid inmate complaints about “lazy” meals – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4) Denver City Council voted 9-2 on Monday night for a $ 9 million agreement between the city and Aramark, a private company that provides food services to prisons and prisons. The two-year contract begins on July 1st with the option of three further extensions for one year.
Last week, the Denver Sheriff’s Department defended its decision to hire Aramark after a Denver Post report highlighted inmates’ complaints about food quality in other counties. In a 2019 lawsuit, an Arapahoe County inmate alleged he was malnourished by Aramark, and in December, a Jefferson County inmate claimed to have found metal shavings in a brownie.
In a statement to CBS4, Aramark said, “Allegations made in inmate lawsuits do not accurately reflect the work of our staff or the quality of what we do to those we serve.”
Mississippi Prisons terminated their contract with Aramark in April. A lawyer representing 230 inmates said the food at the Mississippi State Penitentiary is often “spoiled, rotten, molded or undercooked” and that the portion sizes are too small. In Michigan, maggots were reportedly found twice in a prison dining area in 2014.
“Aramark serves over 400 correctional facilities across the country and we’ve heard of some serious problems in some of them,” said Councilor Kevin Flynn. “I don’t want to be one of those who complain. I want to make sure we have a mechanism to terminate the contract in the event of a breach. “
Flynn voted for the resolution after an attorney confirmed that the city can terminate the contract with Aramark if the company fails to meet the standards set out in the agreement. City councilors Candi CdeBaca and Amanda Sawyer gave the two no votes to the contract.
DSD says the contract with Aramark is necessary because fewer low-security inmates are allowed to work in prison kitchens. The sheriff’s department says the decline is due to conviction trends during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sheriff Diggins and Chief Line are confident that Aramark, a grocery company providing food services in 22 countries and approximately 400 domestic customers, will provide quality meals to those we care and our employees,” said the Denver Sheriff’s Department. “We have safeguards in place to ensure this and look forward to a successful transition.”
Chief Vincent Line will oversee Aramark’s hospitality operations in Denver Prisons. The company is required to adhere to Denver food regulations and regular city health inspections. DSD inmates can also complain about the meal service through the department’s complaints and incident review team.
“It’s not uncommon for us to have complaints from people in our care, either about the amounts, if they think the amounts are too low, or maybe they think their meal was too cold,” said Chief Line during the session on Monday evening.
The Sheriff’s Department says it has voluntary accreditations with the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Corrections Healthcare. According to documents, the department plans to hire Steritech to conduct a third party food safety audit every year.