Crime

Michigan Inmate Sues Over Lack Of Waffles At Breakfast

| by Kathryn Schroeder
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An inmate serving time at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Michigan for murdering his brother filed a lawsuit against the facility’s former food service provider because the waffles ran out at breakfast.

Iatonda Taylor, 44, also complained in the lawsuit that leftover peach cobbler replaced bread pudding, the announced dessert, and reconstituted scrambled eggs were given to inmates when grilled cheese sandwiches ran out, M Live reported.

The federal lawsuit was made against Aramark, the former food service provider for Michigan’s Department of Corrections.

Taylor alleged in the lawsuit that the unsatisfactory food substitutions placed the facility in danger of a riot, putting him at risk of injury beyond nutritional deficiency.

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An example was given by Taylor, having taken place on May 2, when Aramark ran out of waffles before each inmate had been served and substituted them with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Taylor said inmates became agitated and refused to move if waffles were not purchased from a nearby store and brought to the prison.

Taylor said he was told he would be a “sell out” if he left the line, and that guards threatened inmates with handcuffs and segregation. Some inmates were reportedly handcuffed and removed.

The incident has left him in a constant fear of a riot, according to the lawsuit.

Taylor’s lawsuit was dismissed by the presiding judge.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney wrote in his 11-page opinion dismissing the case that Taylor failed to show a constitutional rights violation.

"Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that his fear of injury is reasonable," Maloney wrote.

"Plaintiff alleges only one occasion on which the food substitutions caused prisoners to become obstreperous,” Maloney continued. "On that occasion, prison guards were available and were fully able to calm the situation by handcuffing a few agitators before anything more than angry comments were made."

If Taylor wishes to appeal, he will have to pay a $505 filing fee.

In 2014, Aramark was sued by an inmate of Baraga Correctional Facility in Michigan for allegedly serving rotten food, M Live reported. The lawsuit was filed days after the company was fined $200,000 by the state for problems related to its food service.

Christopher Velthuysen claimed his constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment had been violated because he was denied food that is “healthy, nutritional, and edible.” His case moved forward in court.

In July, the state of Michigan announced it was parting ways with Aramark by “mutual agreement,” more than a year before the company’s three-year, $145-million contract with the state would have expired, Lansing State Journal reported.

Complaints over food service were not the only problems Aramark faced in Michigan. Allegations of employees smuggling drugs and other contraband into prisons, and engaging in sex acts with prisoners have also been made. Nearly 200 Aramark employees have been fired and banned from prison property for their transgressions.

Sources: M Live (1), M Live (2), Lansing State Journal / Photo credit: Brendan C/Flickr