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Author Topic: USA: Michigan Prisoners Protest Food, Overcrowding, Insanitary Conditions

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Michigan prisoners protest food quality

Jonathan Oosting | Detroit News Lansing Bureau | 22 March 2016

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/03/22/michigan-prisoners-protest-food-quality/82135514

Lansing — Michigan prisoners in an Upper Peninsula facility staged a food protest Sunday and Monday, according to the state Department of Corrections, which contracted with a new private food service company in August following well-documented problems with the prior vendor.

The protest at the Kinross Correctional Facility in Chippewa County was “ an isolated incident,” said department spokesman Chris Gautz, indicating that the state’s three-year $158 million contract with Trinity Services Group has otherwise gone well.

Roughly 1,000 prisoners staged a silent protest Sunday night, leaving the yard area of the prison about 20 minutes ahead of schedule and returning to their housing units, according to Gautz.

“They were very calm, very polite,” he said. “We did try to talk to some of the prisoners and understood it had something to do with food.”

A large number of prisoners skipped breakfast the next morning, Gautz said. Only 60 prisoners came to lunch and 30 came to dinner, meals that are typically attended by roughly 1,200 prisoners.

Gautz said Trinity added some new items to the prison menu a few weeks ago, and some of the prisoner-population staff at Kinross had difficulty “maintaining consistency” with the new recipes.

The company brought in supervisors and managers to work with prisoner staff at Kinross after weekend complaints, he said, and meal attendance attendance had largely returned to normal by breakfast on Tuesday morning.

“We feel that things have gone pretty well with Trinity,” Gautz said. “Any issues that we have had, they’ve been very responsive to, like this incident. They were right there as soon as we let them know there was an issue.”

The state privatized prison food service as a cost-cutting move in 2011, but an original contract with Aramark was marked by controversy.

The state canceled the three-year, $145 million Aramark contract last summer after a series of high-profile incidents, including allegations that kitchen workers fed inmates a cake that had been partially eaten by rodents. Maggots were also spotted near food in several facilities.

The state has placed 59 “stop orders” on Trinity employees since the company began running food service in August, effectively barring those people from working in Michigan prisons, according to Gautz.

Most of those orders were the result of “over-familiarity” with inmates, a broad term that can include sharing personal information or engaging in inappropriate sexual activity.

By comparison, the state had placed 102 stop orders on Aramark employees during the first eight months of that contract, Gautz said.


Inmates protest food quality at northern Michigan prison

Washington Times | 23 March 2016

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/mar/23/inmates-protest-food-quality-at-northern-michigan-

KINCHELOE, Mich. (AP) - About 1,000 inmates at a prison in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have participated in a peaceful protest over the quality of food provided by a state contractor, an official says.

Prisoners at Kinross Correctional Facility left the prison yard Sunday about 20 minutes early in silent protest. The next day, most of the facility’s nearly 1,300 inmates didn’t get meals as usual, Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz said.

The protest related to complaints about the quality of food provided by Oldsmar, Florida-based Trinity Services Group, which replaced Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services as Michigan’s prison food contractor last year, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“This is the first issue that I’ve seen related to food in months,” Gautz said, adding that Trinity has “been very responsive whenever there are issues.”

The Associated Press sent an email Wednesday seeking comment from a Trinity spokesman.

The warden met with Trinity officials Monday, who brought in extra staff and said they were addressing some issues about the way some recently added menu items were being prepared, Gautz said.

Anita Lloyd, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Corrections Organization, said the union was concerned by the scope of the protest.

“It’s hard to get 1,000 people to agree on anything,” Lloyd said, noting that “we’re glad it was peaceful this time.”

Trinity’s three-year, $158 million prison food contract was approved in July after Gov. Rick Snyder announced that Michigan and Aramark had mutually agreed to end their troubled three-year, $145 million contract early. Aramark and the state cut ties after company-initiated talks about a possible billing increase and other issues.

Michigan had fined Aramark $200,000 for unapproved menu substitutions, worker misconduct and other issues.
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Chippewa Correctional Facility
4269 West M-80 Kincheloe
Michigan U.S.A. 49784


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Press Release
From Reverend Joel Dufresne
Re, Kinross Correctional Facility, Michigan Department of Corrections


The MDOC, Michigan Department of Corrections, has attempted to censor what the protest at Kinross Correctional Facility, KCF, was truly about.  The administration misleads the media by stating that the demonstration performed by the incarcerated body, was solely due to the quality of food being served by Trinity Food Service.  That was partly the reason for the demonstration but not the sole reason for it.  The following complaints are all of the issues that were being addressed through the peaceful demonstration that was orchestrated by the prison populous of KCF.

Insofar as Trinity Food Services are concerned, our grievance with them pertain to the insufficient food portions and the quality of food being served, followed by the preparation of the food which is often served under cooked and cold.  The staff of this company seems to be either incompetent or unwilling to correct the obvious.  When formally addressed, they are unwilling to lend any merit to our complaints.  They have side-lined themselves especially in the area of quality control.  The medically required diets have become just as lacking in necessary nutrients and are often times unrecognizable as what is being served.  This is partly due to the prisoners being hired to prepare the meals.  Security measure at this level two facility only allows for "low risk" prisoners to work in the kitchen.  This act itself has led to the pure production of food.  As it stands, there are just not enough "qualified" of "competent" prisoners being hired to prepare the meals.  This needs to change.

Though there are a plenty of other issues that can and should be addressed,  I will take this opportunity to address the more pressing issues.  This particular prison was originally constructed and designed to house a "maximum" of 600 prisoners.  This number has now been doubled, as there is a total of 1200 prisoners currently being housed at this facility.  The toilets are constantly overflowing and there is a persistent aroma of sewage protruding from the drains.  Let us not exclude the fact that there are only 8 toilets and 6 urinals available for a total of 160 men.  An ACA standard (3-4132) states that there are to be at least 10 toilets and 6 urinals for this number because the minimum ration according to their standard, one toilet per 12 prisoners.  It should be duly noted that, insofar as the ACA standards are concerned, a urinal is considered one-half of a toilet.  If you would like to know the definition of insanity, could this or would this be it.  The ceiling in one of the facilities units (A unit), literally collapsed after a water pipe, which had burst several times in the past, exploded after freezing.  All winter long, we have been subjected to inconsistent ventilation and heating problems that still exist, as the facility has been unable to properly balance and regulate air-flow due to the type of ventilation system built in these units.  At one point in time, the units had become so cold within, that the maintenance team were reduced to redistributing piles of snow up against the outer walls of the units to be used as a form of insulation.

Another issue that was not properly conveyed to the public upon the opening of this facility was that only two units (A and B) were inspected.  Both of these units were sufficiently supplied and prepared to be inhabited, however, the others were not.  Close to a thousand prisoners were ushered into this setting that was completely unfit for living.  The facility had remained dormant for a period of 8 to 10 years and the conditions reflect that dormant state.  The two units mentioned above are also being used for temporary layovers and the housing of dogs, a program that has been recently implemented.  The unit that houses these dogs has been awarded additional ventilation for the dogs but such concerns have not been afforded to the general population.  One could argue that the Constitutional violation of "Cruel and Unusual Punishment," might apply here.

One of the most mentally pressing issues is the apparent "Black Mold" situation.  Several prisoners have been rushed to the hospital for respiratory ailments that seemed to have appeared out of the clear, blue sky.  We are aware of the fact, there are various types of "Black Mold" and that we have no way of determining which type seems to be growing in this environment.  That being said, what is certain, the MDOC's assessment of the mold cannot be trusted.  This mold could be of the worst kind and they would say otherwise.

It should also be noted that this facility has crammed 8 prisoners into a 19 x 12 cubicle, with a table resting in the center of it.  Against the walls are 4 bunks, each with a chair present at its side and two chairs that sit at the table.  I'm sure that it is not hard to imagine that a set-up such as this leaves virtually no room to move about.  ACA standard (3-4128-1) states that each prisoner must have a total of 25 sq. ft. of unencumbered space.  Yet, after accounting for all of the above furnishings, there is only 107.06sq. ft. available for the 8 prisoners.  This is nearly one half of what the ACA standards consider to be "humane."

There is one more pressing issue that should be addressed and that is the issue pertaining to human contact.  The warden of this facility has superseded Policy Directive that allows prisoners to have physical contact with loved ones during visits.  Due to his personal concerns, which he calls "Security Risk," He arranged the visiting room in such a way that does not permit prisoners from being able to hug or place their arms around a loved one.  The MDOC Policy Directive 05.03.140(y) states, "Physical contact between prisoners and visitors is prohibited except for one kiss and one embrace between the prisoner and each one of his visitor(s) at the beginning and end of each visit.  In addition, a prisoner and his visitor are permitted to have their arms around the shoulders of one another and may hold hands."  The Warden here, at KCF, has created an Operating Procedure that circumvents Policy Directive, without any merit or Legislative authority.  This is a violation of Policy Directive 01.04.110 pg. 2, subsections L and M, which reads as follows:

(L)  An operating procedure implements, and derives authority from, an administrative rule, a policy directive, or a DOM.  If an operating procedure is required to implement a policy directive or DOM, that requirement shall be set forth in the policy directive or DOM.

(M)  An operating procedure is set to be issued as a substitute for an administrative rule, a policy directive, or a DOM.  Procedures identify who does what, and when to implement a rule, policy directive, or DOM.  However, the "who does what" format need only be used when specific positions have responsibilities for different tasks.  All operating procedures shall be formatted consistent with requirements set forth by the administrator of the office of legal affairs and been assigned a unique identifying number.

In conclusion, the statements are proof that this facility, that is exceeding its budget of 2 million dollars to 9 million, has grossly misappropriated public funds.  It cares more about squeezing out more finances rather than attending to the well-being of the prisoners, which the State of Michigan has entrusted into their care.  These issues and many others are an ongoing problem of which the prison body has repeatedly tried to address in a peaceful manner but have been ignored at every turn.  The health, safety and all around well-being is clearly at the bottom of KFC and this Warden's agenda.  This alone, must be construed as being an "Inhumane Treatment," in and of itself.

Respectfully,

Joel Dufresne #257173
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Joel@joeldufresnecase.com

Joel Dufresne #257173
Chippewa Correctional Facility
4269 West M-80 Kincheloe
Michigan U.S.A. 49784


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Joel does not have direct access to Creator Forum. Please understand that I am only Joel's Liaison, and it will take time for me to gain answers to any questions you may have for Joel.