Monday, March 20, 2023

Riots, prison strikes, and maggots: Reasons NHC wants to avoid food service vendor for jail

One of two possible vendors reportedly has a bad track record that staff would like to avoid.

WILMINGTON — Have you ever made food so bad that it started a riot? Well, according to county documents that is one of the reasons staff is suggesting the county not use Aramark to supply meals for inmates and staff at the county’s detention center.

New Hanover County Commissioners will vote on approving a food service provider for the detention center during its first meeting of the new year on Monday.

Proposals were received in November by four companies including Aramark, Summit, Perkins Management Services, and Trinity Services Group, Aramark and Summit were chosen to move forward.

Staff is suggesting the county award the contract to Summit, the current provider at the jail, despite being slightly more expensive than Aramark.

The two companies submitted their best and final offers to the county coming in at $1.20 million for Summit and $1.19 million for Aramark.

The county’s staff has given five reasons why the contract should be awarded to Summit.

  • There will be no disruption in service due to training
  • Proposals did not offer a significant reason to change vendors
  • Outstanding performance during Hurricane Florence
  • Partnered with NHSO to achieve nationally recognized accreditation
  • Aramark received unfavorable attention due to service

According to county documents, Aramark has several black marks against it including:

  • False inmate names for billing
  • False billing for paper products
  • Sexual assault by staff on inmates
  • Maggots
  • Rancid meats
  • Officers refused to eat food
  • Prison strike and riot

Michael Praats can be reached by email at or Twitter @Michael_Praats

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