Canteen and Tray Petition

the below letter was signed by 35 detainees on 5A.

To whom it may concern,

We the inmates of Durham County Jail are addressing fairness, equality and the expectation of appropriate functioning of services provided by this facility in associations with ABL food services and Aramark employees.

Food Trays

We are addressing the issue of continuous empty slots every morning for breakfast, and for lunch and dinner. This may not be all the time, but it is the majority of the time that they are not adequately filled.

Another issue is the fact that diet trays are not appropriately prepared in regards to an individual’s specified diet which has been set by medical. We have witnessed on several occasions an inmate whose meal says no cabbage receive cole slaw, lettuce or straight cabbage; another, whose specified no onions/no red sauce receive exactly this and they are allergic. Not only did they receive this meal, but the detention officer wouldn’t get it fixed, but forced the inmate to keep the tray even knowing the individual’s allergies. Another inmate who is a diabetic and receives a 2800 calorie diet continues to get trays packed with starches, which is worse than the consumption of cookies. He will receive a tray with bread, pasta and potatoes with applesauce. That’s ridiculous. And there is an individual who receives a Heart Healthy diet/ no red sauce and there are moments when he, as well, receives exactly what should not be on a cardiac diet. ABL needs to be addressed pertaining to the inmates who are in the initial care of this facility. Hands down.

Canteen Outages

We all know everyone was under the impression that Aramark was losing their contract and ABL (or someone else) was going to take over canteen. It didn’t happen and Aramark renewed their contract…Fine, but this is where it concerns inmates. Since “Bull”, the former canteen overseer was transferred or fired, a kitchen overseer temporarily took over Ms. Pam and shortly after that Mr. Kerry took over, then Ms. Myer began to dispense canteen. When Ms. Pam was doing canteen and working the kitchen, just like when “Bull” was here, on a regular during December and January we received our canteen Mondays, i-Cares Tuesdays, Hot Trays on Wednesdays, canteen again on Thursdays, and i-Cares as well as Hot Trays on Fridays. It never failed. And there were hardly ever any outages. Unfortunately, since Ms. Myer has been working, we receive hot trays that are supposed to be hot!!! And when we receive them, we’re supposed to also get them at a decent time of the day. We have been getting hot trays between 8 pm and 10 pm, and worst of all, they are always COLD. There have been constant shortages every week for the past month and a half. When canteen is received, items are forgotten to be packaged because of shortages or simply overlooked and we have to wait to get it the next canteen day, IF!!! they remember. But she NEVER forgets to charge our accounts—it’s not fair.

And when inmates act out by kicking doors and yelling through the pod, it’s due to these issues being added to the already terrible conditions of this facility. We are expected to act and behave in an orderly manner, some do and others don’t, but we expect that those who are in a position to work on our behalf or resolve these issues will actually do so as they are supposed to. We as the inmates in Durham County Jail are all in agreement. This may cause troubles over time, which is not needed on either part’s end, inmates or officers. We are asking for Inside-Outside Alliance to please be a voice for us immediately. Thank you and God Bless.


in addition, there was the below letter to Aramark about their poor service administering canteen. the company lost the meal preparation contract and ABL took over in October, but Aramark still controls the commissary. 

Grievance specific to Aramark for poor canteen services

Dear Aramark,

It’s bad enough we go over half a day between dinner and breakfast than to not have food we’ve paid for not be delivered to us. This is how we feed our hunger pains. This is not just a complaint, it’s the principle of it. You go anywhere to get food in the world, we as a people of the world expect to receive what we paid for not too long after we’ve paid for it, and if there is a mistake for the mistake to be fixed as soon as possible. It shouldn’t be a problem knowing you the employer pays your worker to do their job and to fix their mistakes. So we as customers are seldom right! You don’t want to argue with the customer because of the possibility of losing their business and leaves your company with a bad reputation. This is called in all business “customer service and customer appreciation.” If your customer won’t address the problem, who will, Aramark? We are being taken advantage of very badly. And constantly overcharged more than prison facilities. Why?

Cc: county commissioners, Capt. Bazemore

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