Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility

The Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility is a Level II state prison for male inmates that is located in Ionia, Michigan. It was named after the prison's first warden. 

The philosophy of MTU is that a prisoner who has completed the GED and learned a marketable skill has a much better chance of becoming a contributing member of society.

The facility houses general population prisoners, along with other prisoners who have been placed in the Adaptive Skills Residential Program (ASRP) and the Residential Treatment Program (RTP).  

The ASRP is for prisoners who have significant limitations in adaptive functioning due to a developmental disability or chronic brain disorder. The RTP is for Prisoners with a mental illness, whose mental health needs cannot be managed in a general population setting. These prisoners require medication, and group and individual treatment for symptom management and improvement.   

Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility is also home to the innovative and first-of-its-kind Vocational Village Program When operating at full capacity, the Vocational Village at Handlon Correctional Facility has 165 vocational trade students, 27 vocational trade tutors, and 12 building trade workers.

Prisoners participating in Vocational Village programming are housed together in one unit that acts as a therapeutic learning environment that supports their success and creates a positive and productive environment. Housing the prisoners together offers many advantages, such as the opportunity to discuss educational topics during non-class time, eating together, and attending other programs and leisure time activities.

Prisoners have full days of training and classroom instruction intended to mimic a typical workday outside prison walls, and will receive state and nationally-recognized certifications in their trade.

A double chain-link fence, concertina wire, and electronic detection systems make up the perimeter security.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting Hours at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility are as follows:

General Population:

Monday, Thursday, and Friday         2:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday                            9:00 am – 8:30 pm


Thursday                                            2:30 pm – 8:30 pm

General Visiting Rules

Before you can visit an inmate at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility, you must first complete a Visiting Application to request approval. You must submit the Visiting Application in advance of your visit to allow for review of the Application. Your inmate must also place you on the visitor list.

You will be searched by officers when you arrive for your visit. Anyone who fails to clear the metal detector after two attempts will be screened by use of a handheld metal detector. The facility will also use the black light hand marking system for visitors. The black light will be used to check the hand marking on exit from the visiting room. 

A maximum of five people are allowed to visit with a prisoner at one time. Children under the age of two will not be counted in that number. 

A detailed list of visiting rules at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility can be found by clicking here. You can also find a complete Family Information Packet by clicking here.

Personal Property Allowed in the Visiting Room

You are allowed to bring the following items into the visiting room:

  • Locker key
  • Visitor pass
  • Identification card
  • Money for vending machines – a maximum amount of $25.00 per visitor or no more than $60 per group visit.
  • For visitors with infants: Two, clear plastic bottles, one pacifier, and one single-layered baby blanket (no quilt or comforter style). A clear, plastic spill-proof cup “sippy cup” is permitted when a toddler is a member of the visiting party. 
  • Medications and/or medical equipment which may be needed by a visitor during a visit are permitted with the approval of the shift commander.
  • A service animal which provides service for a disabled visitor is permitted to accompany the visitor while in the visiting room. 
  • Immediate family members may bring legal documents in on a visit for review only with the prisoner. The documents cannot be left with the prisoner nor left at the front desk for the prisoner. These items are subject to search before being taken into the visiting room. 

Dress Code

  • Visitors must be fully dressed in clean clothes that do not have holes
  • Undergarments must be worn, including underpants/panties; adult females must wear a brassiere. 
  • Clothing which exposes excessive skin is prohibited. This clothing includes, but is not limited to, see-through clothing, tube/halter tops, and shorts or skirts/dresses that are more than 3” above the knee. 
  • Visitors fourteen years of age or younger must be attired in clothing which covers his/her body from the base of the neck to the top of the knees. T-Shirt and shorts/trousers are acceptable, but a sundress is not acceptable. 
  • Clothing which exposes undergarments is prohibited. 
  • Extreme form-fitting clothing, including but not limited to yoga pants, running tights, jeggings, unitards, etc. may not be worn as outer garments. 
  • Clothing which displays words, symbols, gestures, or pictures that may be perceived as obscene or inflammatory are not allowed. 
  • Outer garments such as shawls/ponchos/lightweight coats/jackets (including denim and jogging suit jackets), winter coats/jackets, shrugs, vests, headgear, gloves, or outer boots that slip over a shoe are not allowed in the visiting room. Blazers, suit coats, and sweaters are permissible. Note: Hooded garments are prohibited. 
  • Visitors are permitted to wear religious clothing and headgear into the visiting room, but they are subject to search and inspection.
  • Footwear is required. 
  • Jewelry worn by visitors will be itemized on entry and on leaving the visiting area. Jewelry is limited to no more than ten pieces. Note: Jewelry which includes an open compartment or space designed to contain photographs, hair, ashes, etc. is prohibited.

Watches, including electronic wristbands, pendants, eyeglasses, and other similar items containing a camera, GPS, wireless, or electronic functions are prohibited.

Physical Address

Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility
1728 Bluewater Highway
Ionia, MI 48846

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(616) 527-3100

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name and DOC Number
Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility
1728 Bluewater Highway
Ionia, MI 48846

All inmate mail sent to the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility must include the address of the facility as well as the offender’s name and MDOC number. If you do not know this information, you can search the OTIS Database located on the MDOC’s website (

Prisoners may receive publications ordered by members of the public from the following Internet vendors, provided the publication is not used and is sent directly to the prisoner from the Internet vendor:

  • and

FFP Program

The FFP Program is an approved customized package program that allows loved ones to send authorized items to inmates.The spend limit is $100, not including tax and shipping, per FFP order placed. Only one FFP order is allowed per prisoner per quarter (i.e., Jan-Mar; Apr-Jun; Jul-Sep; Oct-Dec). 

For additional information, please visit the FFP website at

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility, but they do have access to phones and are allowed to make monitored outgoing calls during approved hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Michigan, please click here.

How to Send Money

You can send money to an inmate at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility via the GTL ConnectNetwork by using their Trust Fund service. 

You must create a ConnectNetwork account and then select Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility and your inmate before you can deposit money into the Trust Fund (commissary) account.

While using this website is the easiest and fastest way to make a Trust Fund deposit, there are several different payment options available. Note: all Trust Fund deposits are final; there are no refunds issued.

Programs For Inmates

The major program emphasis at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility revolves around academic, vocational education, and special education. The facility houses the Vocational Village (VV)– a first-of-its-kind skilled trades training program that aims to provide a positive learning community for prisoners who are serious about completing career and technical education.  

Beyond training the prisoners in demand-driven trades, staff at the facility work with employers and community partners to actively assist graduates of the VV program in their employment goals. Many graduates of the VV have employment arrangements prior to leaving the facility on parole. 

Also, the academic program is framed with the GED continuum, including Adult Basic Education and GED preparation as well as the Calvin College, Calvin Prison Initiative program that provides liberal arts education in ministry leadership. 

Supplements are Job Skills, Health Education, and Independent Living Skills. Work socialization to assist prisoner workers in meeting community standards is an ongoing part of routine work assignments.

To promote an atmosphere of learning, students enrolled in Career and Technical Education are housed in a common unit together with Pell Grant college enrollees. By housing these individuals who share the common goal of improving their lives through education together, the facility creates a more positive, productive environment that promotes cooperative discussions, study sessions and leisure time activities.

Seventy-Five percent of students that have paroled out of Vocational Village program recently have successfully found meaningful employment in their chosen field. For more information about Vocational Village, click here.

Recreation and leisure time programming is offered to assist in team building skills. Religious services serving all recognized religious groups are offered, Professional staff offer counseling in the areas of violence, sexual acting out and criminal thinking. The goal is to modify self-destructive behaviors and replace them with goal-directed positive thought processes.

Prisoners are provided on-site medical and dental care. Emergencies can be referred to a local hospital, and more serious problems are treated at the department's Duane L. Waters Health Center in Jackson.

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Careers at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility

If you are interested in a career with the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility, you can find job listings by clicking here