Aramark, which employs more than 200,000 workers, also agreed to create a job training program for inmates and assist them with job placement once they’re released.
The new contract is expected to save Ohio taxpayers $12 million a year, according to DRC.
Under the Kasich administration, DRC sold off its farming operations that produced some of the food consumed inside of state prisons. Ohio prisons had operated farms and a dairy, where inmates learned job skills, for 148 years until 2016.
Kasich also privatized the prison food operations. Aramark was paid $3.60 per prisoner per day in fiscal year 2014 when Ohio first went to the outside contractor. The per diem fee slowly increased each year to $4.36 in fiscal year 2021.
Ohio Civil Service Employees Association President Chris Mabe said the union is disappointed management didn’t consider other factors such as Aramark’s high staff turnover and complaints about food quality that can contribute to security issues inside prisons.
“We question how the contractor could come in with a lower bid than in previous years without affecting staff turnover and food safety. Sometimes there are more important considerations than just the bottom line,” Mabe said.