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Michigan sets up unit to monitor prison system contracts

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The Michigan Department of Corrections is setting up a 30-person unit to monitor the department's private contracts for the supply of food, medical treatment and other services.
 
The Detroit Free Press reports it's the first state department to set up such a unit.
 
MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz says the department spent about $250 million last year on about 185 service contracts, including about 70 substance abuse contracts, more than a dozen sex offender related contracts and about a dozen prisoner re-entry contracts.
 
In addition to monitoring contracts, Gautz says the new unit will conduct required audits under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
 

Food contractor Aramark Correctional Services was replaced in September after a billing dispute and a series of unflattering incidents involving prisoners and employees of the private company.