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The Tucker Unit commemorates its centennial
The Tucker Unit held a centennial commemoration on Friday, Dec. 16 at the Island of Hope Chapel. The unit opened its doors to inmates 100 years ago!
On February 16, 1916, the state purchased 1,384.64 acres of land that would become Tucker State Farm, today’s Tucker Unit. Additional land was later purchased.
From stockade to modular-style housing, brozene to digital money, male to female inmates and back to male Tucker has made many transitions through its century, and made progress in many of its original areas, like farming.
Although it was known for many years as the prison where death row and the execution chamber were located, other monumental prison events have occurred there. The ADC’s first GED students graduated at the unit in 1974. The notorious Tucker Telephone became nationally known through the movie Brubaker in 1980. The unit was chosen for the filming location of the 1973 movie White Lightning, starring Burt Reynolds. Tucker Unit search dogs and correctional officers were used for small roles in the movie. .
Arkansas Board of Corrections Vice-Chairman Dr. Mary Parker-Reed presented a commemoration address at the event acknowledging the rich history of Tucker. ADC director, Wendy Kelley, gave closing comments. Warden Joe Page, II was joined by former wardens Marvin Evans, Steven Williams, Jerry Campbell and David White. The Old State House Museum displayed in the Tucker Unit gym the state’s first electric chair, the Tucker Telephone and other relics. The program ended with a tour of the Tucker Unit.