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Headshot of Ayesha Ahsan

Ayesha Ahsan

  • Hosted by Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
  • Sponsored by Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Boston College Law School
  • Issue area Prisoners' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

As a Fellow at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Ayesha (she/her/hers) will advocate for a decrease in use of solitary confinement for incarcerated individuals through direct representation, community organizing, and policy reform.

Upwards of 120,000 prisoners in the United States are being held in solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the country, often without a legitimate reason for confinement. A significant portion of this population experiences mental health issues, and the oppressive and violent conditions of solitary confinement exacerbate the symptoms of these illnesses. The administrative obstacles that prisoners face, particularly those in solitary, create significant difficulties for them to seek relief for their mistreatment. Prisoners in solitary need greater access to counsel and the courts, education regarding their rights, and a shift in the systems that dictate their incarceration to ensure their safety, health, and well-being.

Fellowship Plans

Over the course of her Fellowship, Ayesha will work directly with prisoners in solitary confinement to navigate administrative processes and legal avenues to challenge their placement in solitary. Ayesha will work with these individuals to learn more about the mechanisms that force prisoners into solitary confinement and strategize sustainable policy solutions to harmful practices and procedures. Additionally, she will work with community organizations and other stakeholders to create a network of resources and support for prisoners in solitary confinement seeking legal assistance.

The carceral system destroys lives and communities in the name of ‘justice.’ As a first-generation Muslim American and a woman of color, I feel compelled to fight against such violence and work towards an end to these cruel systems.

Ayesha Ahsan /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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