SAULT STE. MARIE (WWJ/AP) - Authorities say a former food service worker at a prison in Michigan's Upper Peninsula tried to get an inmate to help orchestrate the assault of another inmate who he said had killed his relative.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says 27-year-old Michael Young was charged Tuesday with one count of solicitation to commit assault with intent to cause great bodily harm, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
"If you try to take the law into your own hands to exact revenge, there will be consequences," Schuette said in a statement.
Young was employed by Aramark Correctional Services at Kinross Correctional Facility in Chippewa County. In 2014, a Kinross inmate reported to the Michigan Department of Corrections that Young asked him to set up the assault at a different prison facility. Young allegedly explained that the target inmate was serving a sentence for the murder of one of his relatives.
Authorities say Young offered tobacco products to the inmate in return for recruiting another inmate at the other facility to carry out the proposed assault.
Young was given a $50,000 cash bond and is currently being held in the Chippewa County jail.
Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services has a three-year, $145 million prison food contract with the Michigan prison system. Its performance has been under scrutiny due to allegations of employee misconduct and food contamination. The company has said it's working to correct any issues.
At least three dozen Aramark employees have been banned from prisons for violations since the company took over.
Democrats and a liberal advocacy group have called on Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, to cancel the Aramark deal, saying problems were inevitable because of high turnover and lower pay for private workers who replaced roughly 370 state employees who lost their jobs in the outsourcing.
The governor has defended the decision to stick with the food vendor, saying the state was on pace to save $14 million a year through privatization. He also absolved Aramark of responsibility for suspected food poisoning and maggot problems.
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