Mark W. Michael Unit

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Mark W. Michael Unit
Location 2664 FM 2054
Tennessee Colony, Texas 75886
Coordinates 31°47′39″N 95°54′12″W / 31.7942667°N 095.9034500°W / 31.7942667; -095.9034500
Status Operational
Security class G1-G5, Administrative Segregation, Outside Trusty, Safekeeping
Capacity Unit: 2,984 Trusty Camp: 321
Opened September 1987
Managed by TDCJ Correctional Institutions Division
Warden Todd Foxworth
County Anderson County
Country USA
Website www.tdcj.state.tx.us/unit_directory../mi.html
Aerial view of the Coffield Prison Farm Property (The Michael, Beto, Coffield, Gurney, and Powledge units)
1977 United States Geological Survey map of the land which now houses the Michael Unit

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.[1] The unit is in proximity to Palestine and the Rusk ironworks,[2] and it is in about a one hour driving distance from Dallas.[3]

The Michael Unit opened in September 1987.[1] Texas officials referred to the facility as "model for the future."[4] Robert Perkinson, author of Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire, described Michael as "one of the meanest lockups" in Texas.[5]

Operations[edit]

Michael was one of the first prisons to no longer use the "telephone-pole" layout,[6] which has central pickets with dead-end cell blocks extending from them.[7] 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.[6] Michael was one of several new prisons to have the ability to have many prisoners in extended lockdowns.[2] State officials said that Michael's features allowing for extended lockdowns of prisoners were modeled off of the United States Penitentiary, Marion.[6]

Notable prisoners[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Michael Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. 314. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
  3. ^ a b 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."
  4. ^ Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. 314-315. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
  5. ^ Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. 28. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
  6. ^ a b c Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. 315. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
  7. ^ Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. 44. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
  8. ^ "Offender Information Detail Henley, Elmer Wayne Jr." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on July 20, 2010. Enter the SID "01924387."
  9. ^ Day, Elizabeth. "I love you Phillip Morris: a conman's story." The Observer. Sunday September 6, 2009. Retrieved on December 10, 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°47′41″N 95°54′11″W / 31.79472°N 95.90306°W / 31.79472; -95.90306