The largest walled prison in the world

When Michigan’s first prison became too small to house its increasing population, a new modern penitentiary was planned. It was completed in 1934 and soon became the largest walled prison in the world with over 5,700 cells. Until 2007, Cell Block 7 was an active part of the penitentiary.

It’s hard to imagine how it must have felt to spend your days confined to a small cell. To be told when to sleep, to rise, to bathe, to eat, to work. Inmates staged riots to demand better conditions. Countless convicts risked their lives to escape. They climbed over walls, tunneled under walls; one even made off in a helicopter - right from this prison.

While you’re spending time at Cell Block 7, you won’t have to try to imagine prison life; you’ll feel it, experience it; and it’s as close to prison as you’ll ever want to get.


The Cell Block 7 Prison Museum is independently operated by the Ella Sharp Museum.  

For more information about the Ella Sharp Museum click here:

It didn't take long

The first Michigan prison opened in 1839. In 1840 ten inmates made the first mass escape.

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World records set here

The State Prison of Southern Michigan was once the largest walled prison in the world.

Discover the history
3455 Cooper Street
Jackson, MI 49201
Opening Hours We unlock the gates at 10am today.