EXPOSED: BOP fosters Covid-19 Incubator at Women’s Huron Valley Prison

activist, author, former political prisoner

Ebony Malcom (#867597)
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility
3201 Bemis Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Since this letter was mailed to the CDC, Governor Whitmer & Acting Warden Howard earlier this month, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases inside this prison has increased nearly tenfold with 2 confirmed deaths. At great personal risk to herself, Ebony Malcom has courageously stepped forward to expose the death chamber being cultivated inside WHV. By blind copy of her letter, I was given permission to do with it as I “see fit.” The only correct action is to make sure that, while we know the state & institution have already been put on notice, the public now needs to look inside the nightmare being cultivated inside this prison. -Camille

April 10, 2020

Center for Disease Control
Attn: Robert R. Redfield, Director
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30329


Dear Mr. Redfield:

As you are aware, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the lives of hundreds of people in the state of Michigan. Incarcerated persons are not exempt from this possibility. As of April 4, 2020, there are seven (7) confirmed cases of women incarcerated at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (WHV), the only prison in the state with several cases pending test results for this deadly virus. [As of April 21, this prison alone is reporting 64 Covid-19 cases and two deaths.]

My name is Ebony C. Malcom and I am currently incarcerated at WHV. I have been granted parole with July 7, 2020 as my earliest release date. I am currently being housed in Lenawee Building (LB), a gymnasium disguised as a housing unit. The unofficial name of this “housing unit” is the “going-home unit,” as typically, all inmates housed in this “unit” have received positive action and have been granted parole.

There are over one hundred (100) women, the majority of whom have an early release date of six (6) months or less, housed in this gymnasium/”housing unit;” thirty-two (32) of which were moved in on March 27, 2020 for various reasons. None of which are conducive to the health or the safety of the prisoners or MDOC/WHV staff.

The layout is set up in a barrack style, thirteen (13) cubicles, eight (8) prisoners per cubicle. There are only six (6) phones available for use, all stationed approximately six (6) inches apart on one (1) wall. The only other room besides one (1) big room where over one hundred (100) women eat, sleep, use the telephones, JPay machine, Edge kiosk, pop machine, microwave, sink and two (2) 8-foot tables & five (5) round tables in the TV room where only ten (10) prisoners are allowed due to the social distancing mandate. Additionally, we are the only prisoners housed in a “unit” with no small yard or window to aid in ventilation which is generally necessary for everyday living, but extremely crucial considering the seriousness of this pandemic.

The federal and subsequent state mandate of social distancing is impossible in the current living conditions we are subjected to. We are fearful of the effects exposure to this deadly virus will have, not only on ourselves, but also our families/friends/communities we are paroling to and, most importantly, our respective release dates.

This deadly virus is rapidly spreading throughout this facility. Although MDOC/WHV staff are taking precautionary measures to contain the virus, they have yet to be successful in their efforts. The “bleach” that is being provided to wipe surfaces is too diluted to be effective which is indicative in the increasing number of confirmed cases in this facility alone. The low-quality facial masks we are forced to wear are insufficient in preventing the spread of this deadly virus.

The rate of confirmed cases at WHV combined with the population’s ongoing exposure to this deadly virus is scary, to say the least. There are prisoners who live in this “housing unit” whose work assignments consist of them having frequent contact with quarantined and/or infected prisoners such as: Prisoner Observation Aides (POAs), Food Services workers, and Porters which continues the constant exposure to this life-threatening, deadly virus as they return to their “unit” at the end of their assignments every day. And there are prisoners being escorted from quarantined units to the gymnasium/”housing unit” where we are forced to use the showers, restrooms, and other amenities.

I am writing in the hopes that you will feel compelled to inform the appropriate entities and/or person who will appropriately address this health crisis, including returning State of Michigan citizens.


Ebony Malcom

cc:  Gretchen Whitmer, Governor, State of Michigan
Jeremy Howard, Acting Warden (WHV)

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