- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

KINCHELOE, Mich. (AP) - About 1,000 inmates at a prison in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have participated in a peaceful protest over the quality of food provided by a state contractor, an official says.

Prisoners at Kinross Correctional Facility left the prison yard Sunday about 20 minutes early in silent protest. The next day, most of the facility’s nearly 1,300 inmates didn’t get meals as usual, Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz said.

The protest related to complaints about the quality of food provided by Oldsmar, Florida-based Trinity Services Group, which replaced Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services as Michigan’s prison food contractor last year, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“This is the first issue that I’ve seen related to food in months,” Gautz said, adding that Trinity has “been very responsive whenever there are issues.”

The Associated Press sent an email Wednesday seeking comment from a Trinity spokesman.

The warden met with Trinity officials Monday, who brought in extra staff and said they were addressing some issues about the way some recently added menu items were being prepared, Gautz said.

Anita Lloyd, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Corrections Organization, said the union was concerned by the scope of the protest.

“It’s hard to get 1,000 people to agree on anything,” Lloyd said, noting that “we’re glad it was peaceful this time.”

Trinity’s three-year, $158 million prison food contract was approved in July after Gov. Rick Snyder announced that Michigan and Aramark had mutually agreed to end their troubled three-year, $145 million contract early. Aramark and the state cut ties after company-initiated talks about a possible billing increase and other issues.

Michigan had fined Aramark $200,000 for unapproved menu substitutions, worker misconduct and other issues.

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