The Prison and Jail Innovation Lab is hosting a symposium that will bring together the country’s leading experts on prison and jail conditions to reflect on some of the most critical and challenging issues in our field. We will discuss what can be done to address the seemingly intractable horrific conditions in certain correctional systems, and debate whether meaningful reform of America’s prisons and jails is truly possible.
Speakers and audience participants will include people with lived experience; journalists; litigators; oversight practitioners; advocates; corrections officials; academics; and more.
Please plan to join us for a stimulating day and a half of discussions that are sure to challenge and inspire you, and for opportunities to connect with colleagues in the field from across the country.
Local Information: https://pjil.lbj.utexas.edu/cruel-and-not-unusual-conference-local-guide
February 3-4, 2022
Location: Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas | Eidman Courtroom (no hybrid option available)
Author Robert Chase will discuss his book “We Are Not Slaves,” a history of the prisoners’ rights movement in Texas in the second half of the 20th century told from the vantage point of prisoners themselves. The book weaves together untold truths from the histories of labor, civil rights, and politics in the United States as it narrates the transition from prison plantations of the past to the mass incarceration of today.
Professor Talitha LeFlouria (History Dept.) will introduce Chase and his work. Following Chase’s talk, Michele Deitch, Distinguished Senior Lecturer and PJIL’s Director, will lead a panel discussion with local advocates focused on current prison labor practices and the “end the exception” movement.
This important and timely event is hosted by William Wayne Justice Center at UT School of Law and co-sponsored by the Prison and Jail Innovation Lab and UT’s Initiative for Law, Societies, and Justice.
Thursday | November 3, 2022 | 5:00pm CT
Location: Townes Hall
Michele Deitch and Alycia Welch, authors of the report “The Pandemic Gender Gap Behind Bars: Meeting the Needs of Women in Custody During COVID-19 and Planning for the Future,” will examine the distinct challenges faced by women in custody during the COVID-19 pandemic and strategies to address those needs at the International Corrections and Prisons Association's annual conference.
Wednesday | October 26, 2022 | 11:45am ET
Location: Orlando, Florida
The Prison and Jail Innovation Lab (PJIL) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs hosted an evening of conversation with author and journalist Keri Blakinger, as she discussed her new acclaimed memoir, Corrections in Ink, with LBJ School Professor Michele Deitch.
After spending nearly two years behind bars, Keri became a reporter dedicated to exposing to exposing our flawed prisons as only an insider could. This moderated discussion provided a forum for discussing prison conditions, women in custody, and the potential for redemption among justice-impacted people. Click here to learn more about our speakers and Corrections in Ink.
Tuesday | September 20, 2022 | 5:15pm CT
Location: LBJ Bass Lecture Hall
Alycia joined a roundtable discussion on the U.S. Capitol Hill hosted by U.S. Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) and U.S. Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC) to share her expertise on women in the criminal justice system and ways to reduce the harm women experience in correctional facilities.
Thursday | July 14, 2022
Location: U.S. Capitol Hill
Past Webinars and Presentations
Social Justice Research Forum, Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Texas at Austin. Alycia Welch and Michele Deitch highlight findings in their forthcoming report, “Pandemic Gender Gap Behind Bars: Meeting the Needs of Women in Custody During COVID-19 and Planning for the Future.”
April 30, 2021
In this episode of the LBJ School's new podcast series "Eye on the Lege: Inside the 87th Texas Legislature," PJIL Directors Michele Deitch and Alycia Welch discuss the bills surrounding criminal justice policy and policing this session.
April 19, 2021
Michele joined the GovExec Daily podcast to discuss the pandemic in the corrections system and how the COVID-19 crisis has brought serious problems in the carceral system to the forefront.
February 1, 2021
Michele sat down with LBJ alumna Nancy La Vigne (MPAff ‘91), then vice president for justice policy at the Urban Institute, and Dr. Ronald Day, vice president of programs at the Fortune Society, to discuss the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 on the criminal justice system, including policing, confinement conditions in jails and prisons, and state and local reforms.
April 8, 2020
Michele joined other national experts, members of the oversight community and others to share information about what jurisdictions across the country are doing to address COVID-19 in jails and prisons, strategies for reducing jail and prison populations, important COVID-19 policy recommendations, practices across the country, and what the current crisis says about the past, present, and future of American carceral policy.
March 24, 2020
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. PJIL Director Michele Deitch addresses the problem of youth who are prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system and confined in adult jails and prisons.