Ionia: Prison History

In 1875, the Michigan Legislator approved the funds to begin the construction of the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia. This impending structure is still in service today and is the State’s second oldest penal institution. Following this institution came many others. Today Ionia has six prisons but only four are in commission. The Michigan Asylum for Insane Criminals, now known as Riverside Correctional Facility and is now closed, was organized in May 1885. This institution held insane convicts from all penal institutions, asylums, and those charged with crimes acquitted due to insanity. They also held noncriminal insane peoples. Pictured above is the Michigan Reformatory.

Sources: Branch, Elam Edgar. History of Ionia County, Michigan: Her People, Industries and Institutions, with Biographical … B.F. Bowen & Co., 1916

McCord, David. Ionia County Historical Society, Inc. 2008