I have gotten a lot of inquiries about covering The Walking Dead's prison location. While the show utilizes many existing locations for a lot of their filming, the prison itself was built entirely on a closed studio set in Senoia, Georgia.
Walking Dead Wikia lists West Georgia Correctional Facility as the location of the prison used on the show. It even has a photo of the set prison labeled "West Georgia Correctional Facility." This is what the prison is called in the script, as verified by Theodus Crane, who portrayed the character Big Tiny.
However, there is no such thing as an actual West Georgia Correctional Facility. There is a a West Central Center in Zebulon, Georgia, and some have assumed that facility was used for filming, or at least for exterior shots. It is my understanding, though, and also asserted by Theodus, that all of the show's prison scenes were shot at the studio set.
Just to make sure, I looked at the satellite image of West Central Center, and there do not appear to be any bodies of water in the vicinity. I've also actually been inside that facility (I decline to disclose for what purpose), and it doesn't look anything like the interior of the prison on The Walking Dead.
A satellite image of the studio in Senoia DOES show bodies of water, one of which seems consistent with the location seen in the show. This is all enough for me to conclude there was not a location outside of the studio set used to film any scenes from the prison.
As a result, I have not been able to procure photos of the prison used to make The Walking Dead, as it never existed in real life.
Thanks to Theodus, though, I was able to get some details about the set prison built for the show. According to his description, they essentially built a real prison on the studio land. A lot of Theodus's scenes were shot in the kitchen, and he said it could have a been a fully functioning kitchen in a prison or school.
I also learned that the interior of the prison was built with incredible detail. As evidenced by the public's assumption that the scenes were built at an actual prison, the production crew did an amazing job. Working with the crew, as well as all the other actors, was a "super positive experience." Theodus told me there was never a mediocre moment, reinforcing public perception of a production starring and run by genuinely gracious and down-to-earth people.
I really am disappointed that I was not able to photograph the actual prison set, and that I had to use images that were not my own for this article. I hope I have been able to come up with enough information about the prison to at least be interesting, though!
I would like to say a very special thank you to Theodus Crane for taking the time to speak with me! Look for additional information about Theodus in my upcoming article featuring him and his career beyond The Walking Dead!
If you are interested in seeing me cover any film locations in and around Atlanta, please feel free to let me know in the comments!