Jackson, MI Historic Prison Tour
September 5, 2012

9.6.12  Thanks Becky for a wonderful trip to Jackson,MI. What a fun experience and we learned the history of Jackson, Mi and the prison system.  It was fascinating and well presented to the group by a group of great storytellers. Lunch was excellent especially eating in a prison dining room. the tour was wonderful.  Sherry L.

9.10.12  Thanks for the pictures...they are great...no other tour company I travelled with does this..a WONDERFUL idea..and pictures that can be saved.....Loved the tour...looking forward to the Amish tour...thx very much.......Ellen M.

 

What a delightful day we had on this tour!  Our two guides with the prison tour were wonderfully informative and entertaining, as well as giving us some eye-opening information on how prisons were run way back when.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Judy Krasnow, Founder/Director and the person who has made this tour possible, along with Steve Rudolf, her guide assistant.  The photos are of the old prison, which opened in 1839.  It has been renovated and converted into artists' studios and apartments.

We listened to detailed descriptions of what each part of the building was in its prison days and heard explanations of the beautiful murals throughout.  Judy is responsible for making this unusual tour come to be.

Note the new water pipes, etc. running along the ceiling.  Of course, the original prison had no water or electricity.

Steve Rudolf, Judy's assistant, took us downstairs to what used to be solitary confinement.  The entire area where the people are standing in the first picture used to be 3 solitary confinement cells, with no water or electricity.  And yes, they were only fed bread and water through a slit in a steel door.

 

It was then back upstairs to visit 2 of the artists' studios.  The first is Lou Cubille, located in the center rear of the picture.  You could feel the passion this man has for his superb talent.

We then moved on to the studio of Carol Kent, a wood carver. 

Next, Judy took us to her apartment located in the complex.  If I remember correctly, her apartment consists of what used to be 18 old prison cells on 2 floors. 

We then boarded the bus for a short trip down the road to what is now the working prison, which houses approximately 6,000 inmates at this time.  Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed inside.  Our lunch was served in the lunch area of the prison that is no longer used and what used to be the 2 week housing for new inmates, called the quarantine area, which consisted of 515 cells on 5 floors surrounding the room, as well as the guard room.  This number of cells astounded me, being there were so many cells that were only housed for 2 weeks!  The cells were left as is when the area was closed down, complete with beds, toilets, sinks, and lockers.  Of course, they had been cleaned.  We ate our superb box lunches at the same tables where the prisoners used to eat their meals.  Many thanks to the caterer for supplying great lunches, as well as accommodating our 2 gluten-free people with a superb lunch.  We then went to an outside area where the prisoners used to be able to go outside and get fresh air and exercise.  Yes, across the way, the current prisoners were out in their exercise area.

We then boarded the bus again to head back to the original prison building/artists complex to visit their gift shop before departing for home after a very unique tour.

Caleb Christoff, who also assisted Judy at the current working prison and the gift shop clerk.