Ex-prison worker charged in inmate assault-for-hire attempt
A former Kinross Correctional Facility worker was charged Tuesday with allegedly trying to orchestrate the assault of an inmate in a different prison.
Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Wednesday morning Kincheloe resident Michael R. Young, 27, has been charged with one count of felony solicitation to commit assault with the intent to cause great bodily harm.
Young faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
An inmate at Kinross reported to the Michigan Department of Corrections he was solicited by Young in July to find an inmate at a different facility to assault an inmate incarcerated there, Schuette said in a press release.
Young was employed by Aramark as a food services worker at Kinross, in Chippewa County south of Sault Ste. Marie.
Young allegedly told the inmate his target was serving a sentence for murdering one of Young’s relatives. He also allegedly provided the inmate with details including the name and prison number of the individual, Schuette said.
He is accused of offering the inmate tobacco products in return for his participation in the plot, Schuette said.
“If you try to take the law into your own hands to exact revenge, there will be consequences,” Schuette said.
Young was arrested and charges were filed Tuesday in Chippewa County’s 91st District Court in Sault Ste. Marie. He was arraigned Wednesday and given a bond of $10,000 or 10 percent and ordered to wear a tether, said Andrea Bitely, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office.
Young is due back in court June 1 for a probable cause hearing and June 10 for a preliminary examination. He is being held in the Chippewa County Jail.
Schuette launched an investigation in September to determine whether to charge Young with hatching a murder-for-hire plot. The probe was launched after Chippewa County Prosecutor Brian Pepplar passed the case to Schuette’s office.
Young was banned from prison property during the investigation, making him one of 90 Aramark employees dismissed for various problems. Michigan contracts with Philadelphia-based Aramark for prison food service.
“We have zero tolerance for criminal conduct and terminated this employee immediately when the allegations surfaced last year,” said Karen Cutler, vice president of corporate communications with Aramark.
Cutler said the alleged actions “are completely inconsistent with our commitment to follow all laws and regulations everywhere we operate, and do a disservice to the 400 dedicated employees who work hard for the Michigan Department of Corrections ... . As MDOC’s food service provider we have hired hundreds of employees, all of whom must undergo MDOC background checks and receive security clearance directly from the department before we are permitted to hire them.”
Aramark was at the center of controversy in December 2013 when the Department of Corrections angered unions by laying off 370 state prison food workers and shifting the provision of food for inmates to the Philadelphia-based company under a $145 million, three-year contract.
Progress Michigan on Wednesday urged Schuette to launch an investigation into Aramark’s involvement with the state.
“Attorney General Schuette’s victory lap press release...about prosecuting a former Aramark worker is nothing more than a smokescreen for the fact that he has abdicated his responsibility to review this entire contract,” executive director Lonnie Scott said in a press release. “Our AG has completely failed to hold Aramark accountable. There have been hundreds of employees fired, drug smuggling, sexual contact with inmates and countless basic contract failures.”
The state fined the company $200,000 last year for problems that have included food shortages, questionable relations between workers and inmates, drug smuggling and maggot infestations.