Aramark awarded food service contract at prison

By JOHN RISHEL

jrishel@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — The Clinton County Prison board has renewed a food service contract between the county correctional facility and Aramark Food Services, out of Taylor, Pa.

According to warden Angela Hoover it will be a one-year renewal, and “is a result of feedback received over the course of two years, as well as a six-month analysis of the current menu which included detainee surveys, visual inspections and staff input.”

The terms will be effective April 19, 2019 through April 19, 2020.

Hoover explained that the contract, aimed to “improve variety and improve nutrition” would have an increased Consumer Price Index (CPI) fee of 3.2 cents per meal, with an estimated annual cost of $8,760 to the county based on average daily population and a price per meal increase from the current menu of approximately 4.2 cents per meal, which would be an estimated cost of $11,497 annually based on the number of meals served.

“It is a 2.79 percent increase in the overall cost of these meals,” she said. “In all, it is a four-year contract with one-year annual renewals, so every year we can have this discussion again.”

The board noted that the contract would be approved, but was still pending review by county solicitor Paul Welch.

Aramark was named to FORTUNE’s “World Most Admired Companies” List in 2018, according to its website.

Hoover said that the Clinton County detainee population for February included an average of 63 males and 23 females, which “has remained consistent with recent averages.”

The outside agency per diem inmates averaged 158 for the month of February.

The prison is currently operating with 57 full-time correctional officers and nine part-time COs. A full-time vacancy will soon be filled by a trainee, she said, while they have received two resignations and hired six new part time correctional officers.

“One went to the sheriff’s department and one left to another correctional facility closer to where he relocated his family,” she explained. “In February, the overtime hours for corrections officers was a total of 14 hours.”

For the month of January 2019, Hoover reported that only 30 overtime hours were served and no one was mandated for an overtime shift. A new 12-hour shift cycle at the prison, along with staff retention has helped to keep overtime low.

“That is great,” said county commissioner Paul Conklin. “It may have seemed like last month was an anomaly, but now it may be a trend.”

“I am glad not to be reporting hundreds of hours of overtime as we have in the past, and with zero mandates,” replied Hoover.

She also noted that the Lycoming-Clinton Joinder Board received grant for a four year project, Stepping Up Data Sharing Initiative.

“Susquehanna Software is developing the program that will pull information from our jail management system, MH/ID and West Branch systems in order to generate HIPAA compliant reports. These reports will be used to view recidivism rates based on certain demographics, (gender, race, homelessness, etc) types of services received during incarceration, and services received in the community,” she said. “Based on the trends identified, we will be able to recognize areas for improvement and provide direction to CJAB subcommittees for future goals. That input is very valuable in order to plan programs, set future goals, and see where our shortcomings are.”

Hoover also made a quarterly report available from Crossroads Counseling, who has offered counseling to 125 new clients in the past four months.

“Psychiatric service hours have allowed for an opportunity of 100 percent compliance with medication requests as well as access to treatment for individuals who become incarcerated. There were only 10 identified reincarcerations reported in the last quarter, of those who have accessed mental health services while incarcerated. This represents a recidivism rate of 8 percent. Historically recidivism rates are directly related to an access of resources,” she said.

Commissioner Robert “Pete” Smeltz said that mental health, a job and a place to live are all important “pieces of wholeness” that can be obstacles for inmates to achieve in order to prevent them from ending up back in the prison system.

Hoover also noted that the prison’s annual Refresher Training program, which typically takes place in May, has been moved to March 26 and March 28, due to National Correctional Officer week being scheduled for the same week, May 5 through 11, which would often cause a conflict.

“There is less leave used in March making it easier for scheduling purposes, and we will be able to celebrate National Correctional Officer Week without having a required training event at the same time,” Hoover said.

COMMENTS