May 11, 2015
Two companies are fighting over contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to feed Maryland prisoners held in the Baltimore jail complex.
In January local upstart Crystal Enterprises underbid the previous contractor, Trinity Services, which feeds nearly 300,000 prisoners in 33 states and is owned by a multi-billion dollar private equity firm. But less than a month into the contract Crystal Enterprises suddenly announced its budget assumed there would be more than 3,000 more prisoners, and unless the state coughed up more than six million dollars, the company would stop all food service at the jail immediately. State officials obediently cut the check, then promised to “investigate” as Trinity complained.
Having more people to feed, and then letting private companies serve the meals, creates a terrible incentive. The companies profit more if the state locks up more people.
This dispute is about getting rich off of human captives.