Middletown awards new contract for city jail meals

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Middletown awards new contract for city jail meals

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Middletown is changing the contractor that provides three meals a day to the inmates at the city jail. FILE PHOTO/COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Middletown is changing the contractor that provides three meals a day to the inmates at the city jail.

Middletown City Council awarded a three-year contract to CBM Managed Services of Sioux Falls, S.D., to provide meal services. The new contract will begin on Jan. 1 and run through Dec. 31, 2020.

In her recommendation, city purchasing agent Cindy Strayer said the city sought to find a contractor to provide the service of purchasing, receiving, preparing and serving the meals to meet the nutritional needs of the inmates.

CBM Managed Services will be replacing ABL Management Inc., which has held the contract since 2011.

Jacob Burton, city finance director, said that CBM Managed Services was the only company to submit a bid for the jail food services contract.

“As with many of our contracts, after so many years of extensions, bids are taken to establish a new contract,” Burton said.

He said that CBM is one of the nation’s largest correctional managed services companies, providing service to some of the biggest correctional facilities in the country, including the Cook County Jail in Chicago, which has an inmate population of 12,000. Burton said that CBM currently serves more than 60 million meals annually.

“We believe their experience will be a good fit for our jail,” Burton said in an email.

Strayer said the exact amount to be spent on this contract depends on the number of inmates housed in the jail. She said the average number of inmates incarcerated has grown from 60 to 70 since the last contract was set in place in 2011.

She said this contract includes the first per-meal increase in five years — from $1.8249 to $2.285. Those per-meal amounts will slightly increase for each year of the contract, she said.

Strayer said the total contract amount for 2018, based on 70 inmates per day, is $175,145. The city has budgeted $127,458 for food service in the 2018 budget, which means officials will be returning to council toward the end of 2018 for a supplemental appropriation to cover the difference.

As for alternatives, Strayer said the city could provide this service internally. However, she said this has been explored in the past, and it was not cost effective for the city to provide this service.

“This is a very specialized service, since food is the No. 1 cause of disruption among inmates in any incarceration facility,” she said. “Contracting with an organization that has experience in the corrections area helps eliminate the disruption, as well as gives us the insurance we need to make sure the food is properly prepared and the inmates are appropriately fed.”

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