Prison Tours

Is Jackson, MI’s Tourism Site Profiting Off Prisoners by Promoting Jailhouse Tours?

Visit the Jackson, Michigan tourism website, and you will get one thing right straight away. They are really hyping up their jailhouse prison tours.

The Michigan based venture’s website reads in part that Jackson owes about 200-years’ worth of success and growth to something that many people would not suspect, prisons.

History of Jackson State Prison

Jackson State Prison in Michigan
Jackson State Prison in Michigan

The City of Jackson, MI is famously known for being the home to the Michigan State Prison, also commonly referred to as Jackson State Prison. Michigan State Prison was the state’s first penitentiary upon its opening in the year 1839.

Since its founding in 1829, the sleepy city has been the home to many industries. However, none of these industries have stuck its identity quite as the prison sector.

Despite the city of Jackson’s continuous production of various products, from Coney dogs to mopeds to car parts to corsets, its nickname has remained: Prison City.

Michigan DOC Director Brings Changes to State Prisons

According to U.S. Decennial Census, Jackson city has been experiencing a declining population since the ’60s.

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But even with the population decline, the city has never seized from focusing on capitalizing on what it calls a “deep-rooted history.”

According to director of the Michigan Department of Corrections, Heidi Washington, prisons are Michigan’s greatest growing industry.

However, the number of prisons in the state has been reducing over time:

  • In the 1970s, Michigan State was home to approximately 8,000 prisons
  • By the early 2000s, the number reduced to 50,000
  • Currently, the number plays around 40,000

Thanks to the modified sentencing policies, as this is a clear indication of positive changes in the justice department.

Since her ascending to power as the Michigan Department of Corrections’ director, Washington has had a remarkable impact in prison sector. Some of her contributions include:

  • She has been against the idea of privatizing prisons
  • She is working to assist inmates re-assimilate into the society after their releaseshe is working to reduce the rate of reincarnation.
  • She is working to reduce the rate of reincarnation.

Do Inmates Gain From the Jailhouse Prison Tours In Any Way?

Jackson Prison HistoryHowever Jackson’s prison tour promotions have been reluctant to share some critical information about the facilities.

For example, the website shows little about the human and often, dehumanizing sides of prison. It rather seems to just define itself as being the lockup of the “hardened criminals.”

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The “hardened criminals,” definition is particularly unfair given that many of its inmates were accused of just possessing illegal drugs.

About Jackson Jailhouse Prison Tours

By purchasing a $15 a ticket, the attendees can walk through Cell Block 7. Cell Block 7 is a segment of the complex that has been turned into a museum.

Here is the amazing experience that many guests will like about Block 7. Just as the most hardened inmates in Michigan’s history, guests can:

  • Inhabit the cells
  • Walk through the corridors
  • Pass by the gun towers

The guests can as well tour the very first Jackson Historic Prison. This is a building with a 25-foot high stone wall which once served as the state’s only cellblock.

The building was later turned into the Armory Arts Village. The area is now occupied by residents, focusing on the arts.

The guests can have docent-guided tours in Armory Arts Village, where leaders narrate captivating stories about:

  • Crime
  • Corruption
  • Reform
 Visiting Jackson city, you will easily realize that the town hasn’t capitalized on any other industry apart from Michigan’s prison industrial complex.

And that may explain why they have made their tourism website attractive so that it can attract even more clients.

Daniel Peterson
Daniel Peterson is a young professional with diverse experience in content writing and content management. He has a strong blog writing background, and runs his own e-commerce partnership business. Daniel currently writes news articles for prison loved ones on the Prison Rideshare Network.