Group raises thousands to help buy winter gear for city inmates

A fundraising campaign is underway to help raise funds to purchase winter accessories for inmates in the city’s prison system.

Witness to Mass Incarceration is responsible for an initiative that raises funds to provide hats and gloves to inmates at Rikers and other city jails. The organization’s goal is to raise $45,000 for the more than 5,000 men and women in the system.

Ceyenne Doroshow is a trans woman who is a former inmate at Rikers Island. Doroshow says his time at Rikers opened his eyes to the basic needs of those incarcerated.

“You wake up cold, you sleep cold, for God’s sake your toilet is cold!” said Doroshow.

Doroshow says the summer months can be as cold as the winter months.

“Nobody should be cold,” says Doroshow. “If it’s a form of punishment, we’re cruel people.”

Doroshow says that’s why she supports the Witness to Mass Incarceration initiative.

“When I tell people they don’t provide hats and gloves, people don’t realize it,” Doroshow says. “They don’t give you warm clothes.”

Evie Litwok, the founder of Witness to Mass Incareration, says heat is a basic human right.

“It occurred to me that I could create a campaign to provide hats and gloves,” says Litwok. “I had to get permission from the Department of Corrections, and I started funding it.”

The organization has already raised $31,000.

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