Prison Labor in Michigan

An assembly of machines to make steel chairs in the factory.

The steel chair department of the chair factory at Jackson Prison, c. 1910-1930. [Archives of Michigan] Courtesy of: Michigan History Center

Steve Ostrander, Michigan History Museum

The selection of Jackson for the site of the Michigan State Prison in 1837 was a decision based on economics. Several Jackson businessmen had lobbied the State Legislature for the prison because they were seeking a source of cheap labor for their factories.

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