The Original Jackson Historic Prison Tours

Jackson is no stranger to prison history. Penitentiaries have played a unique role in our city’s industrial roots, and they’ve been here almost as long as Michigan has been a state.

What began in 1838 as Michigan’s first state prison, a temporary wooden structure, would evolve into the largest walled prison in the world by 1882. On a Jackson Journeys Historic Prison Tour, you’ll start where it all began: within the imposing, castle-like walls of the original downtown prison. Your storytelling guides will take you on a historical journey of tales of crime punishment, corruption, colorful characters, bungled escapes, Prohibition, and humane reforms. You will hear stories that make you cringe, sigh, think, even laugh, and overall, will make you particularly glad you weren’t sporting a black-and-white striped suit back then.

Three tours are available: For bus and other large group tours: 1st Degree (4-5 hours, lunch included); For groups of 18 plus, 2nd Degree (3.5 hours, lunch included); For the general public, 3rd Degree (2.5 hours) and you may book Online at Tours run from April through October; Reservations are required.


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