Michigan has fined its new prison food service contractor more than $2 million for unplanned meal substitutions, delays, staffing shortages, and other contract violations since late 2015, the the Detroit News reports. Florida-based Trinity Food Services signed a three-year, $158 million contract in 2015 after the state terminated its initial deal with Aramark Correctional Services over problems, including maggots found in kitchen areas and worker sex acts with prisoners. The Trinity fines include roughly $900,000 for meal substitutions, meaning Trinity was not able to provide food items it promised and instead served alternatives. The company was also fined $357,000 for meal service delays and $356,000 for staffing vacancies.
Trinity is contractually obligated to provide the state with 350 prison food service workers. As of Monday, it had 309 employees and 27 others who were set to begin in the near future. Spokesman Chris Gautz said the Department of Corrections is working with the Department of Talent and Economic Development for help reaching new candidates for jobs that have proved difficult to fill. “The department and director feel staffing really is the key issue,” Gautz said. “If they had full staffing and had a consistent experienced staff, you would have fewer fines for staffing. But we think you’d also see far fewer fines for meal substitutions and delays.”