|Location||2664 FM 2054|
Tennessee Colony, Texas 75886
|Security class||G1-G5, Administrative Segregation, Outside Trusty, Safekeeping|
|Capacity||Unit: 2,984 Trusty Camp: 321|
|Managed by||TDCJ Correctional Institutions Division|
The Mark W. Michael Unit (MI) is a Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison located in unincorporated Anderson County, Texas. The unit is along Farm to Market Road 2054, 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Tennessee Colony. The unit, on 20,518 acres (8,303 ha) of land, is co-located with the Beto, Coffield, and Powledge prison units and the Gurney Transfer Unit. The unit is in proximity to Palestine and the Rusk ironworks, and it is in about a one-hour driving distance from Dallas.
The Michael Unit opened in September 1987. Texas officials referred to the facility as "model for the future." Robert Perkinson, author of Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire, described Michael as "one of the meanest lockups" in Texas.
Michael was one of the first prisons to no longer use the "telephone-pole" layout, which has central pickets with dead-end cell blocks extending from them. The telephone-pole layout, while inexpensive to build, is difficult to police without building tenders, convicts paid to police other convicts. Instead Michael uses a modular pod design, which allows for riot control and visual surveillance. Most pods have double-bunk, reinforced concrete cells with security features such as slit windows and bolted-down metal toilets. Some pods have dormitories. Michael was one of several new prisons to have the ability to have many prisoners in extended lockdowns. State officials said that Michael's features allowing for extended lockdowns of prisoners were modeled on the United States Penitentiary, Marion.
- Michael Morton - Exonerated of the crime which he was convicted of. He was transferred to Michael after obtaining his master's degree.
- Steven Jay Russell - The prisoner is a character in the film I Love You Phillip Morris
- Elmer Wayne Henley
- "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Anderson County, TX" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. p. 17 (PDF p. 18/41). Retrieved 2022-08-14.
Mark W Michael Unit
- "Michael Unit Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
- Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
- Rhor, Monica. "Serial killer wrestles with his crimes." Fox News. Sunday June 8, 2008. Retrieved on December 12, 2010. "Henley, who turned 52 in May, sits behind a glass divider in the visiting room at the Michael Unit, a Texas prison set amid cow pastures and sprawling ranches about an hour south of Dallas."
- Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. p. 314-315. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
- Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
- Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
- Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
- Colloff, Pamela (December 2012). "The Innocent Man, Part Two". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
- Day, Elizabeth. "I love you Phillip Morris: a conman's story." The Observer. Sunday September 6, 2009. Retrieved on December 10, 2010.
- "Henley, Elmer Wayne Jr" (Archive). Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on December 28, 2015.