Photo of Eliza McDuffie

Eliza McDuffie

  • Hosted by Southern Center for Human Rights
  • Sponsored by Eversheds Sutherland, The Home Depot
  • Service location Atlanta , Georgia
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Prisoners' Rights, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Eliza (she/her/hers) works on eradicating the use of solitary confinement for young people—particularly young people of color—incarcerated within the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Although federal prisons banned juvenile solitary in 2016, the practice continues in Georgia, almost exclusively affecting Black youth. While there have been legal efforts targeting the use of solitary in Georgia’s adult prisons and jails, Eliza’s project is the first to target juvenile solitary specifically. Hosted by the Southern Center for Human Rights, Eliza is investigating this practice and will bring strategic litigation to challenge it.

Eliza’s experience advocating for clients subjected to solitary confinement and her commitment to making Georgia better motivate her to fight against solitary confinement in its cruelest form—as applied to children, and disproportionately children of color.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the first year of the Fellowship, Eliza has:

  • Compiled and submitted several comprehensive requests for documents from the Georgia Department of Corrections through Georgia’s Open Records Act
  • Developed investigative skills by conducting at least 20 interviews with incarcerated people regarding their conditions of confinement
  • Honed advocacy skills by advocating for improved conditions for numerous people currently detained in jail
  • Connected with public defenders across the state to identify and get in touch with affected youth
  • Started work on a comprehensive report detailing the use of solitary confinement across the state of Georgia, including the use of solitary confinement for youth incarcerated within the Georgia Department of Corrections

Next Steps

In the next year, Eliza plans to:

  • Continue working with community partners to identify affected clients and survivors of juvenile solitary
  • Construct and finalize a comprehensive report on the use of solitary confinement in Georgia
  • Utilize the report in targeted legislative advocacy and media campaigns to spread awareness and work towards legislation to curtail the cruel practice of solitary confinement for youth incarcerated in the Georgia Department of Corrections


Eight from Harvard Law named Equal Justice Works Fellows

Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Human Rights

Ensuring that kids in adult prisons are not subjected to solitary confinement can greatly minimize the long-term negative impact of incarceration.

Eliza McDuffie /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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