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Representative Kelly Cassidy
One vendor has the entire contract for the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) vending machine program. That vendor charges families in the visiting room 1.5 times more for the same items than it does prison staff.
These families are already struggling financially. Nearly two out of every three families with an incarcerated member are unable to meet their basic needs, according to an Ella Baker Center for Human Rights study.
When visiting their loved ones, families cannot bring in outside food or beverages. They must use the vending machines, even for water. The vending machines have a 25% markup in visiting rooms, compared with a 10% markup for prison staff. Furthermore, machines are often broken or empty.
HB 3986 would create competition for vending machine contracts, improve quality, and reduce the cost of food in IDOC visiting rooms.
The current vendor could keep 50 percent of the state’s contract, and IDOC would be required to prioritize minority-owned and women-owned businesses for the other 50 percent of the contract.Read the Full Bill Download the Fact Sheet
The bill was introduced in the House on December 9, 2019.