State to take over prison food services

11/14/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Budget cuts are affecting every aspect of state government, including state prisons.

Earlier this year, state legislation ordered the Department of Corrections to reduce its $83.9 million food service budget by more than $9 million.

To do that, the Legislature wanted the vendors employed by the state, Aramark and Trinity Food Services, to cut back on calories served and to reduce their staff.

But that didn’t work out, and now the state will soon be using another vendor, and will begin taking over meal preparation in some prisons, beginning immediately.

Gretl Plessinger is a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections. She says the menu changes agreed to by the vendors simply weren’t going to make sense for the safety and security of all involved with the state’s prisons.

That’s Gretl Plessinger, the spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections.

Incidentally, earlier this year WMNF reported on one of the vendors the state has been using, Philadelphia-based Aramark.

An investigation by a Florida Inspector General said the company had made millions in "windfall profits" from savings instead of passing them on to the prison system.

However, both Aramark and the Department of Corrections said that Inspector General’s report had been an internal review only, and that Aramark had corrected complaints outlined in the report.

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