Evie Litwok speaks at the LA LGBT Center May 5th, 2016

When Evie Litwok was 60 years old, she was wrongly convicted of tax evasion and sent to a Federal women’s prison. Just before she was sentenced, her mother, a Holocaust survivor, told her, “It will be harder for you to be in prison than it was for me to be in a concentration camp. I was 12 years old then, and you are 60.” Litwok personally experienced many of the shocking injustices faced by millions daily. In her case, being an out lesbian in the early 1990s only made things worse.

Please join Ms. Litwok for a riveting, first-hand exposé at the criminal justice system and its treatment of LGBT people.

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Evie Litwok interviewed for Jewish Standard

Making the case for prison reform

It’s not every synagogue speaker who has served two stints in jail for mail fraud. Then again, it’s not every former prisoner who wants to document the experience of other former prisoners the way Steven Spielberg recorded the memories of her Holocaust survivor parents. And even fewer of those documentary-making former prisoners grew up in Teaneck.

I went to prison at age 60. Here’s what I learned

I was released from the Federal Correction Institution, Tallahassee one year ago. I was taken to the Greyhound bus station and given a ticket to head home to New York. For the first time in close to a year, I went unescorted to a store to buy a cup of coffee. I didn’t feel free. I felt anxious.

I have been in prison twice. The first time, I was 60 years old, and I was convicted on three felony counts of tax evasion and one count of mail fraud. I was released when my case was overturned as two of the tax charges were deemed legally insufficient based upon the evidence presented by the government. I then went to prison a second time at age 63 when one of the tax evasion charges was retried. Prior to both trials, I was offered plea bargains with no jail time, but I was innocent so I fought the charges.

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How Surviving Solitary Confinement Changed my Life

From the look on her face, and the way she entered my room, I knew my mother was about to say something serious. Leaning against her walker, she watched me move closer to her. “It will be harder for you to be in prison than it was for me to be in a concentration camp,” she said. “Mom,” I said, “you were in Auschwitz. How can you possibly compare the two?” “I was 12 years old then, and you are 60,” she replied.

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