Foster applauds decision to keep corrections jobs

A proposal to privatize food, health and mental health services in the Michigan Department of Corrections would not save the state enough additional money and has been abandoned, according to an announcement today from the state department.

Rep. Frank Foster, who worked with the state Legislature and department last session to protect corrections jobs in the Upper Peninsula, said the findings did not surprise him.

“I saw firsthand how hard the folks who run our prisons work every day, often in high stress environments,” Foster said. “They have made sacrifice after sacrifice to help Michigan get through the economic and budget busting last decade we’re  finally starting to come out of. The steps corrections workers have taken show how competitive they are, and these findings prove that state taxpayers are getting a great value for their money.”

Civil service rules require that the outsourcing of state employee jobs must save a minimum of 5 percent.

The Department of Corrections is notifying the potential vendors of the decision, which removes the risk of 1,300 state employees losing their jobs.

The state already contracts with one company to provide certain health care services through on-site physicians, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners and off-site specialty care.

After today’s ruling, that contract is expected to be extended and then put out for bid again.