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State prisons director canceled nearly $100,000 Aramark fine

Posted at 9:20 PM, Sep 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-11 21:23:48-04

LANSING, Mich. — A $98,000 fine imposed on the state’s prison food contractor Aramark was canceled, according to a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections.

MDOC spokesman Russ Marlan said that Director Daniel Heyns wanted to give the company time to solve some of the issues the state was having with them.

That sentiment is also echoed in emails between Heyns and Gov. Rick Snyder’s Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore that were published Thursday by Progress Michigan. 

“I will tone down my attack dogs, delay or cancel any fines and give Aramark time to solve the problems,” one of the emails attributed to Heyns says.  “I met with one of their honchos today and he gets the picture.”

Those problems include maggots being found near prison food and workers engaging in sexual conduct with prisoners.

Progress Michigan says Muchmore’s email that prompted that response was redacted by the state.

However, prior to that exchange, Muchmore asks Heyns, “Do you feel you’ve got this under control?” to which Heyns replies “Answer is no but I am working on it.”

The emails were sent March 13, according to the group’s website.

Unionized corrections officers and representatives from several labor groups protested Gov. Snyder’s decision to honor the contract in August.

However, according to the Detroit Free Press, Snyder also ordered another $200,000 in fines that same month.  Marlan said he believes Aramark paid those.

“We’re just concerned about the safety and security of the prison and we’re having constant issues going on,” Mel Grieshaber, executive director of the Michigan Corrections Organization, told FOX 17 in August.