Solidarity Call-in Tomorrow with Westville Prisoners

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westvillesolidarity(1)Print and distribute everywhere, in 8.5×11 halfsheets:  westvillesolidarity.

Background (including words from the prisoners):

Tuesday January 14th 8am – Emergency Call-in Day

On Monday, January 13th, Indiana prisoners being detained in Westville

Correctional Facility began to refuse the nutritionally deficient,

unappetizing cold sack lunches they have been forced to endure over the

past several months and have issued a call for solidarity. A mass call-in,

starting at 8am on Tuesday, is being planned to put pressure on IDOC

officials and Aramark Correctional Services to reinstitute hot lunch

trays.

On Tuesday, let’s show solidarity and inundate IDOC Commissioner Bruce

Lemmon (317) 232-5711 and Aramark Correctional Services (800) 777-7090

with phone calls demanding the return of hot lunch trays for Indiana

prisoners.

Why is this happening?

According to “official” sources, the switch to sack lunches was a 90 day

test program launched in response to a prisoner’s request to increase

recreation and shower time. Overlooking the absurd proposition that a

prison would change its food policy based on a prisoner request for

extended recreation time, the fact is that since the conversion to sack

lunches, recreation and shower time have not increased, and the 90 day

trial period has long since passed.

The truth is more likely to be found in the bottom line and Aramark’s

business history. In 2005, Aramark Correctional Services (ACS) signed a

quarter billion dollar, ten year contract with the Indiana Department of

Corrections to provide meals for inmates. Since then, Indiana DOC has

saved more than $11 million a year, spending approximately $1.19 per

meal/per prisoner.  In other states these savings have been achieved as a

result of skimping on food portions and quality. In Florida, an audit of

ACS found the company was cutting costs/increasing profits by cutting

portions on meals. In Kentucky, similar skimping on portions coupled with

a decrease in the quality of food led to food riots in 2009. During the

investigation that followed, Aramark refused to provide Kentucky auditors

with access to its records, making a claim to their proprietary rights and

confidentiality.

Here in Indiana, prisoners are reporting a reduction in portions in

everything from peanut butter portions to chicken patties, in the

discontinuation of fresh fruit in disciplinary units, and in the

replacement of meat with pasta covered in “liquid gravy” or chili composed

of “pink slime.” To complicate matters, and make accountability more

difficult, different Indiana prisons, and different areas within those

prisons, are all receiving different portions and meals. This is Aramark’s

mark of business as usual. Let’s let them know we are watching.

On Tuesday, let’s show solidarity and inundate IDOC Commissioner Bruce

Lemmon (317) 232-5711 and Aramark Correctional Services (800) 777-7090

with phone calls demanding the return of hot lunch trays for Indiana

prisoners.

Write indianaprisonersolidarity@gmail.com with questions or solidarity

reports.

*Original call made by prisoners* :

*Aramark fails to comply with contract agreement and prisoners are seeking

your help.*

*No more sack lunch Back to Hot trays!*

*Indiana prisoners are refusing sack lunches and request assistance on

Tuesday, January 14, 2014, starting at 8:00 a.m. Please call Central office

at (317) 232-5711 ask for Commissioner, Bruce Lemmon. Also call 1800

777-7090 to complain directly to Aramark about the following:*

In 2005, Aramark signed a ten year contract with the Indiana Department of

Corrections to provide meals for inmates. Indiana signed a contract with

Aramark $258,000,000, for a ten year period. “It is cost effective for

profit for Aramark but it should be noted that other prisons that are under

contract with Aramark in other states pay more for providing food for

inmates.” The average cost per day for a meal in Indiana is $1.19 per day.

The Indiana DOC has saved more than $11 million a year, a spokesman there

said, since it privatized its food operations to ARAMARK Correctional

Services, an arm of the Philadelphia-based ARAMARK Corp. ARAMARK

Correctional Services, or ACS, has had testy relationships with some other

prison systems and jails in some parts of the country. As an example, a

Florida audit of ACS’s contract with the state DOC found the company was

cutting costs without decreasing its rates to the department.(

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/07/prison-food-contractor-aramark/2140503/).

This was done by skimping on the portions served to inmates as they are

now doing in Indiana. According to Mike Scott, “the sack lunch was

supposed to be a pilot program that would last only 90 days and if it

didn’t work they would go back to trays.” An issued memo in April claimed

the initial suggestion was made by an inmate, so that they would not have

to serve a hot lunch; therefore,  would allow them more time to finish

recreation and showers.

In reality, the conversion to brown bag lunches has not changed anything

because the rec and showers are still spilling over into the next shift. It

is questionable why DOC would listen to the input of one inmate rather than

the input from all inmates that would be affected. When did this new policy

of soliciting advice from an inmate come about? This is not a uniform

policy statewide in regards to the serving and quality of sack lunches.

Sack lunch was tried at Wabash but when it became a security issue in terms

of the negative reaction by prisoners, the warden came on TV and announced

discontinuance. Why is it more feasible for some institutions to have this

program while others don’t? At New Castle prison it has been reported that

in their sack lunches they receive at least two meat sandwiches (boloney or

turkey) a fruit item, peanut butter and bread. At Westville Correctional

Facility (population) it is reported that they receive a meat item, peanut

butter, juice bread and a cookie, but the control unit (previously called

MCC; Supermax) receives two packs of one ounce peanut butter which started

off as three and now has been reduced to two, a juice pack, four slices of

bread and a soggy cookie/ half baked. Since this program has begun all

fresh fruit has been discontinued for disciplinary units,+ for all meals.

Things like patties (chicken, beef) has been severely reduced to the point

of non-existence and replaced with a majority of dishes comprised of pasta/

noodles and sauce or liquid gravy with no meat. When complaints are made

about the lack of meat, peanut butter is immediately substituted as the

protein. It is also used as an appeasement for any other failure to supply

said items such as dessert, vegetable, etc. An example is the serving of

rice with peanut butter and jelly. The rice constitutes the hot meal and

the sandwich is the sack part of the lunch; neither which are filling for

grown individuals let alone appetizing. Lunch is usually the same every

weekend and pink slime is used to sub for meat that is to go in dishes such

as chili or spaghetti.

Disciplinary sections consisting of young offenders and mentally ill are

not treated the same as population. They are being served this garbage

daily. In other words, this is the same treatment that was found to be a

human rights violation in the late 90’s by the Human Rights Watch

Organization.

This is why your help is needed!

In Solidarity

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