Abdullah used to work for Aramark earning between 15 and 20 cents an hour. He remembers seeing labels marking food as, “For Prison Consumption Only.”
“What is ‘For Prison Consumption Only?’” he asked. “You can’t feed it to people in the free world?”
He said while working for Aramark, there was often no soap for the dishes and no chemicals to clean the bathroom. Vermin often found their way into the food he was asked to serve to other incarcerated people.
“It could be a rat, or a mouse, or a roach in the food,” he said. “And you’ll point it out [and say], ‘Well, we got to dump this.’ [They would respond] ‘No, we don’t got to dump this. Scoop that out, serve it.’”
The portions on the trays were often child-size, he said, yet excess food was thrown away every night. Whenever his coworkers fell ill, they were accused of faking it and were instructed to go back to work, sometimes despite noticeable symptoms.