Marquette Branch Prison was authorized by the Michigan State Legislature in 1885. The prison was subsequently built on the shores of Lake Superior on property that was a gift to the State from the Marquette Businessmen's Association. The prison was completed in 1889 at a cost of less than $200,000.
The Level V portion of the prison has three General Population housing units and three Administrative Segregation housing units. There are four Level I housing units which are located just outside the Level V portion of the facility.
Adult Basic Education and General Education Development completion are offered. Other programs include substance abuse treatment and religious services. Available activities include law library, general library and hobbycraft. Many program resources are expanded through participation by community volunteers, such as local clergy and lay people, which gives prisoners increased opportunities to participate in programs.
Prisoners are provided with on-site routine medical and dental care. Serious problems are treated at the department's Duane L. Waters Health Care in Jackson. Emergencies can be referred to a local hospital.
The Level V perimeter is protected with a concrete wall, razor-ribbon wire, electronic detection systems, and eight gun towers. Level I is surrounded by two chain link fences and an electronic detection system.