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Jackson Historic Prison Tours

In 1839, a makeshift wooden fort with room for just 35 inmates became Michigan’s first state prison. By the following year it was nearly triple the capacity, which enabled 10 inmates to escape, terrorizing the city of Jackson for years. This compelled the state to replace the wooden walls with the solid brick walls you still see today. By 1882, this site housed over 2,000 prisoners, making Jackson home to the largest walled prison in the world for the first time!

As the need for an even larger facility became evident, plans were put in motion to build a new prison three miles away. After ten years of construction, the State Prison of Southern Michigan opened in 1934. With the ability to hold nearly 6,000 inmates, it made Jackson the home of the largest walled prison in the world for the second time!

With over a century of prison history comes notorious criminals, incredible stories of escape, and more tales of daily life than you can imagine! Whether you have a small group or large bus, exploring Jackson, Michigan’s historic prison sites are a must – it’s unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else!

Find out more information about bringing your group tour to Jackson, Michigan’s historic prison sites.

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