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Ohio


Ohio farms out its prison food to a private contractor
The prison workers' union says that discounts special security training state food-workers have
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
In The Region:

Ohio is farming out its prison food-service operations to an out-of-state contractor. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says Pennsylvania-based Aramark will help the agency save $28 million over the next two years. The state maintains that will help it deal with a $60 million dollar shortfall caused by increases in the prison population, health insurance and the cost of drugs and medical services.

Chris Mabe is president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, which represents the state’s prison workers.

LISTEN: Mabe questions privitization

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“When you take out those food service workers that are security trained, much like our correctional officers, and replace them with the private company food-service worker who doesn’t get that training --  without increasing other frontline security forces, … it leads to a dangerous situation.” 

Mabe says there was a near-riot at the Noble Correctional Institution in eastern Ohio in 1999 because of portion sizes.

The state says that’s an exaggeration, and inmates were angry about other things, too. The change will affect more than 430 positions, but more than 300 already have been transferred, retired or moved onto other jobs.

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