The history of the prison reveals much about our changing society

The State Prison of Southern Michigan has a long and fascinating history.  People have been living and working within and around the prison’s walls for over 175 years.  Their stories bring to life the history of the City of Jackson and the State of Michigan.

Films from prison

In 1952, 2,600 inmates participated in a riot that lasted 5 days. They held nine guards hostage at gunpoint. The incident inspired the 1954 film, Riot in Cell Block 11.

More about Cell Block 7

An escape worthy of an exhibit to itself

In 1975, an inmate escaped by helicopter. 

Explore the exhibits

The first inmate entered Michigan’s original penal institution in 1839. Over time it transformed from a log building which housed 35 inmates to a large fortress of stone and steel where over 2,000 inmates lived and worked in a variety of industries. 

By 1924, state and prison officials envisioned a new, modern institution that would serve Michigan’s inmates and its public through several rehabilitative programs and industrial activities.  Upon its completion in 1934, this new facility was the largest walled institution in the world, housing over 5,000 inmates.  Cell Block 7 was a part of this facility until its closure in 2007. 

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