The Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility 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 Social Skills Developmental Unit (SSDU) and the Residential Treatment Program (RTP). The SSDU serves prisoners who are lacking skills necessary to live normal productive lives: some are considered developmentally disabled, many with long histories of institutionalization. The RTP is an integral component of the mental health continuum of care, which includes outpatient mental health teams, crisis stabilization programs, and inpatient hospital units.
The major program emphasis at the facility revolves around academic, vocational education, and special education. The facility houses the largest school system in the correctional system. The academic program is framed with the GED continuum, including Adult Basic Education and GED preparation. 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.
Recreation and leisure time programming is offered to assist in team building skills. Religious services serving all recognized religious group 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 routine 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 Care in Jackson
A double chain-links fence, concertina wire and electronic detection systems make up the perimeter security. An Emergency response vehicle also patrols the perimeter.