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How Much Is A TV In Michigan Prisons?

Televisions have become a staple in most American households, providing entertainment, news, and connection to the outside world. But for the nearly 40,000 inmates incarcerated in Michigan’s prison system, access to television is much more restricted.

This article will explore the regulations around televisions in Michigan prisons, including how much a TV costs, the approved devices, and content restrictions. We’ll also look at some of the crimes committed by current Michigan inmates and their thoughts on TV access in prison.

Finally, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about televisions in Michigan correctional facilities.

TV Regulations in Michigan Prisons


In Michigan prisons, inmates are allowed to purchase a new television at their own expense. The TVs must be clear case models purchased from an approved vendor. Currently, the cost for a new clear-case television in Michigan prisons is around $150-$200. This includes a 13-inch flat screen TV along with headphones. Inmates are allowed only one television per prisoner.

Approved Devices

The televisions permitted in Michigan correctional facilities must be clear plastic case models with transparent internal components. This allows guards to easily check for any contraband concealed inside the device. Currently, the approved clear case TV manufacturers for Michigan prisons are Access Corrections and StayFree TV. The models available are small flat screen TVs ranging from 9 to 13 inches. They come equipped with commercial grade headphones.

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Inmates are not allowed to receive used televisions or any other television brand in the mail from outside sources. All TV sets must be ordered and purchased new directly from the facility’s approved vendor list.

Content Restrictions

The programming available on televisions in Michigan prisons is restricted primarily to broadcast channels and educational content. Inmates are allowed access to local and national news, sports, religious channels, and other general programming.

However, certain types of content are prohibited, including R-rated movies, excessively violent or sexually explicit material, and channels focused on criminal activities. Facility staff has the right monitor, restrict, or revoke an inmate’s access to television programming at their discretion.

Featured Michigan Inmate Cases

To understand who is watching television inside Michigan correctional facilities, let’s look at a few notable cases of current inmates and their convictions:

Larry Nassar – Sexual Abuse

One of the most notorious inmates is Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor who was convicted in 2018 on charges related to the sexual assault of minors. Nassar is currently serving a 60 year sentence in a high security federal prison in Florida on child pornography charges.

“I’ve just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said to Nassar at his sentencing hearing in Michigan.

Given the nature of his crimes, Nassar is unlikely to have any television access in prison.

Theodore Wafer – Murder

Theodore Wafer was convicted in 2014 for second-degree murder after shooting an unarmed African-American teenager on his porch in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. He is serving a sentence of 15-30 years.

“I will carry that guilt and sorrow forever,” Wafer said prior to his sentencing.

Wafer is housed at a medium-security prison and may have access to a television with restrictions.

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Larry Hoover – Gang Conspiracy

Larry Hoover is a notorious Chicago gang leader who is serving a life sentence at a maximum security federal prison. He was convicted in 1997 of conspiracy to distribute drugs as the leader of the “Gangster Disciples” gang.

“I know that I’m responsible, accountable for everything I do,” Hoover testified at one of his trials.

Hoover likely has little to no television access due to his high-risk status.

Jack Kevorkian – Murder

Dubbed “Dr. Death”, Jack Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill patient. He served 8 years before being paroled with conditions in 2007 at age 79.

“The only thing left now is my crusade for the right to die with dignity,” Kevorkian said in a 1998 interview with CNN.

During his incarceration, Kevorkian would have had regulated access to a prison television.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a TV cost for Michigan inmates?

The cost of a new television purchased by Michigan inmates ranges from $150-200. This includes a clear-case 13″ flat screen model and headphones from an approved vendor.

What size TVs are allowed in Michigan prisons?

Michigan inmates are restricted to smaller TV models, generally with 9-13 inch screens. Larger televisions are prohibited for security reasons in correctional facilities.

Can inmates watch whatever they want on TV in Michigan prisons?

No, content is restricted mainly to broadcast channels and educational programming. Explicit or criminal content is prohibited. Facility staff monitors and controls TV access.

Do maximum security inmates get televisions in Michigan?

It depends on the specific facility and inmate status. Many maximum security prisoners have little or no TV access due to stricter regulations. But some may earn privileges for good behavior.

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Are inmates allowed to buy used/refurbished TVs for their cells?

No, Michigan prisons only permit new TVs within clear plastic cases purchased through approved vendors by the inmate. Used or refurbished televisions are not allowed.


For most free citizens, watching television is taken for granted as an everyday activity and a source of entertainment. But within the Michigan Department of Corrections system, TV access is a privilege that must be earned through good behavior and maintained by following strict regulations.

For many inmates trying to maintain a connection to the outside world, that treasured television provides their only view beyond the stark prison walls. While its cost and programming may be restricted, a simple TV offers a lifeline to normalcy in an abnormal environment for the nearly 40,000 individuals paying their debts to society within Michigan’s prisons.

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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