IONIA (WWJ/AP) – Four female prison workers have been fired from an Ionia correctional facility for sexual contact with inmates.
The workers were employed by prison food contractor Aramark Correctional Services of Philadelphia.
A Corrections Department spokesman says surveillance video showed the four women kissing and sexually touching male inmates inside a walk-in cooler at various times at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility.
“It’s unprecedented that four workers at the same facility, in the same day, are placed on stop order,” spokesman Russ Marlan told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s concerning on a number of levels.”
Michigan has a $145 million, three-year contract with Aramark. The state has fined Aramark at least $98,000 for violations including employees having improper contact with inmates.
More than 80 Aramark workers have been banned from prisons for various infractions since the company took over services in December.
Despite reports of prison guards having sex with inmates and maggots in food, some state lawmakers aren’t ready to cancel the contract with the company that provides kitchen service. Sen. John Proos, who chairs the Senate prison budget subcommittee, is one of those proponents.
“We’re talking about significant savings that have been afforded the State of Michigan. The question remains whether or not the contractor is doing the job that they should be doing… that remains to be seen,” Proos told WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.
But other lawmakers, like Rep. Brandon Dillon of Grand Rapids, aren’t willing to sit around and wait. He said messing around with food service is not something lawmakers should be doing.
“If you sacrifice food service in the prison, it could potentially create a dangerous and explosive situation,” Dillon said.
“Is this a ticking time bomb?” Skubick asked.
“Well, I think the bomb’s already gone off,” Dillon responded.
Proos said the next move on whether or not to keep Aramark’s contract is up to the governor, not the legislature.
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