Carceral Imaging: Three Communiqués from H.H. Gonzales

Hey J.,

I hope you are doing good and staying safe, this COVID-19 stuff has gotten crazy in here. They were bringing the National Guard in here to test us every week, but they said they weren’t coming in anymore because so many people coming in caught COVID while administering the test. Then our newly appointed warden, a “Black” woman, came in and caught it just Friday, and yesterday 11/16/20 they put us on medical lock down because 124 people from various units all over the compound tested positive in the weekly test for COVID-19, so they did an emergency move and moved these guys and their cell mates to 1 South and 1 North, and moved the guys who were housed in those blocks to the COVID guys’ cells, which in essence exposed the roughly 200 some odd guys moved to those cells to COVID-19.

It’s a madhouse in here, where no stable structure exists. The majority of guys here are parole violators that aren’t getting sent back to prison even when found guilty, and those that do get continuances are called back to see the board 2 months into their flops and going back home from here. It makes no sense. 29 prisons are saying they are quarantined and not accepting or riding anyone out, so basically guys are stuck here in this COVID-19 breeding ground.

Half the staff are out with COVID-19. It’s crazy in here. There are no protocols. They are poorly reactive, with no viable preventative measures. 


It’s now 11/21/20 and things have gotten out of control. The healthcare staff walked out last night without passing out evening prescribed medications, deliberately and knowingly.

Also they packed up a huge number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 that they had segregated in their own blocks last night, on a friday, and are riding them to another facility en masse. CDC protocols say they are to be kept in place, not driven across the state; they are exposing transfer staff and everyone who breathes their air to COVID-19 by moving them and they’re doing it on a Saturday and trying to keep it as quiet as possible.

I don’t believe even the most stalwart pro-prison advocate intended for parole violators to be given a possible, and, the way the MDOC is failing, probable, death sentence.

They are intentionally trying to keep us off phones and JPay. They locked us down while they’re doing all this so we wouldn’t see it, and the only way I found out is I had to go to E.R. last night, with chest pains. I’m okay though, and heard medical staff telling staff they weren’t supposed to be doing any of this. It’s crazy in here!

It’s about 11:00 pm on 11/23/20 and I’m laying on my bottom bunk, listening through the bars of my cell, to the different and many ways different people try to face spending another night in a state-run facility that couldn’t pass any kind of inspection, by any form of inspector with integrity. COVID-19 seems to be the biggest threat right now, mostly due to the failure of the staff to take proper safeguards, also the fact that this facility continues to ride out their COVID positive prisoners to other facilities throughout the state: apparently we have too many at this joint, and not enough at others!

Though, I tend to believe there are two threats bigger than COVID-19 throughout the penal system. The first is the lack of intellect and will of those in this era who are being funneled in here to protect themselves or fight against the many forms of abuse that the M.D.O.C. is subjecting them to. Even the basic defense of being able to intelligently articulate their issues in a grievance, much less being able to file 1983 lawsuits. The revolutionary element seems to have been suppressed by the hopelessness of times, literally due to the political exposure of racism at the highest levels, even though protests are widespread throughout the country. The bravery of the closet racist to now show themselves so openly (no place more than here), has caught us off guard, and unprepared, so much so that I fear the worst is yet to come. I fear that while everyone is sighing in relief believing the elections freed us from something, we will fail to see or remember the 1984 crime bill, or that now one of our most powerful leaders used to be a prosecutor, that reform will become prevalent over abolishment. That the wheels of “just-us” will continue to roll only for the “just them” talked about in that famous document starting with “them the people, in order to form a more perfect union . . .” Can you actually improve upon perfection? And isn’t the term “more perfect” actually admitting that you lacked perfection initially?

The good ole boys have shown themselves literally to be many, have literally started marching in the streets en masse, with agendas! Getting rid of one guy won’t stop this massive ball that is now rolling. Which brings me to the next threat. The good ole boys, emboldened by current events, have shown themselves in their wickedness, no place more than here, and COVID is helping them in a place where they have total control of their hated enemy.

If reformists want something to holler for, holler for body cams for COs, it will be the catalyst for the destruction of the M.D.O.C.’s of the world!

Carceral Imaging

Click, click, click . . . the sound of the cuffs that end manumission, the jingle of chains that restrain the legs of hope. The rustle of cloth that signifies the end of the fashion of freedom, changing of the garb to become visible to the crosshairs of the death that hopes for a chance to sound off.

Boom, clank, slam as sonic vibrations echo your arrival into the plexiglass aquarium of despair, the whir of the branding machine that marks you a slave, with a cataloging number so your status is never forgotten.

The poking and prodding done by Privatized Willie Lynch Specialist, to determine the longevity of your value, the indoctrination of the psyche by the Dr. Kevorkians of carceral manipulation to force Stockholm Syndrome.

“Hell no,” “fuck you,” “lock in,” the voices of the overseers whose whips are the denial of your dignity, self respect, and self worth, as the hounds of punishment bark the assurance of the sweat box in the summer or the freezer in the winter, at the slightest spark of rebellion.

Chaos the roar, anger, pain, helplessness, and suicidal thoughts so loud, that they press upon the self as you walk into the warehouse of bodies stacked on top of one another . . . and this is only the first day at Michigan’s R.G. & C. (Receiving and Giving COVID-19).