LANSING — Contractors testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that outsourcing food services in the Department of Corrections to private entities could save the state millions of dollars, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service. Contractors also testified that contracting for some mental health services within the department could attain savings.

Corrections facilities across the state offer food services to inmates that are often run by private companies. Many jails also offer commissary services — additional snacks, toiletries and clothing that can be purchased by inmates — that are operated by an outside vendor.

One company, Canteen Services, provides services to 22 Michigan county jails already, according to MIRS. A company representative estimated that it could save the state more than $54 million if it provided services throughout the corrections department, MIRS reported.

The company representative also read a letter from Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, who stated that contracting at state prisons would save $40 million.

A representative of MHM Services testified that contracting for mental health services will save the state some money in prescription costs and in outsourcing the litigation costs.

An MDI Healthcare representative testified that hiring a company to oversee billing costs could save roughly $27 million, MIRS reported.

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