Prison worker fired for alleged contraband violation

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A prison food worker was fired Tuesday after he allegedly tried to bring heroin and methamphetamine into the Ionia Correctional Facility, according to authorities.

The worker was an employee of food service contractor, Florida-based Trinity Services Group, said Chris Gautz, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections.

“Our investigator inspector at the facility had been looking into the case,” Gautz said. “Once we felt he had enough to go on, we called in the Michigan State Police who was there when the individual tried to enter the facility.”

Gautz said the department issued a stop order, which bans an individual from entering a prison facility. As a result, Trinity fired the worker.

The investigation has been turned over to the Michigan State Police, Gautz said.

Detective Sgt. Christian Clute of the Michigan State Police said the agency is conducting an investigation at the Ionia Correction Facility, but he declined to provide the nature of the probe.

No arrests have been made, Clute said.

A spokesman for Trinity did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The company has provided food service for Corrections since September 2015, succeeding Philadelphia-based Aramark.

The latest allegation concerns Corrections officers, said Anita Lloyd, spokesman for the Michigan Corrections Organization union.

“They are especially concerned about contraband behind the walls,” she said. “It leads to assaults, stabbings, all kinds of nasty things that disturb the peace. Corrections officers are concerned for the safety of staff and all inmates.”

The state ended its contract with Aramark last fall amid concerns including employee misconduct, contraband and food portion sizes. Now, the union said its concerns are growing about Trinity.

“It seems just like the old vendor we had in the prisons,” Lloyd said. “MCO is trying to be a resource if there’s something we can do. ... Hopefully we find some answer to this soon.”

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

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