Making an Impact

Photo of Michele Deitch testifying in the legislature. Large room with wooden seats.

Making an impact

Changing Policy and Practice

Icon of the Covid, Corrections and Oversight Project, a magnifying glass with the image of prison bars within.

Establishing and strengthening effective correctional oversight

Michele's work was used to support the establishment of prison oversight entities in WA, NJ, HI, and the filing of oversight legislation in several other states.

Screenshot Desktop Guideto Quality Practice for Working with Youth in Confinemen

Guiding the field on appropriate practices for working with youth in custody

Michele and Alycia researched and wrote a chapter of NIC's Desktop Guide to Quality Practice for Working with Youth in Confinement on ways to safely manage youth behavior.

Image of Michele Deitch in a justice committee hearing.

Influencing key legislation in Texas through expert guidance

Michele provided invited testimony and expert assistance to legislative committees in Texas considering the Sandra Bland Act, the “Raise the Age” proposal, and other key bills, many of which were passed by the Texas Legislature.

Cover of the Juveniles in the Adult Criminal Justice System in Texas report.

Children removed from adult jails in Texas

Based on her research on juveniles in the adult criminal justice system in Texas, Michele developed and advanced a bill through the Texas legislature to remove children from adult jails, and as a result, most youth charged as adults are now held in juvenile facilities while they await trial.

Khadijah Young gets her hair done by Tonia Toomer inside a high-level cellblock at Las Colinas. (Brian L. Frank for The Washington Post)

Shaping practices about the treatment of women in custody

Michele and Alycia served as Chair and member, respectively, of the Travis County Sheriff's Women's Jail Advisory Committee and produced a high-impact report in 2018 detailing a vision for a reimagined, gender-responsive facility for women that is already changing the treatment of women in the jail. Our work was featured in the award-winning Washington Post article, "Can We Build a Better Women's Prison?," and in the Christian Science Monitor's podcast on the topic, "Can America Move Beyond Mass Incarceration?"

Photo of the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice. Gold text on red background.

Designing standards affecting the treatment of people in custody

Michele was the original drafter of the ABA's Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners (2010, 3rd ed.).

Advancing the Conversation

Image of PJIL director being awarded the 2019 NACOLE award.

NACOLE Flame Award

Michele was awarded the 2019 Flame Award from the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) for her contributions to the field of correctional oversight.


Driving concern about COVID deaths in custody

Michele and Alycia's research brought national attention to the problem of COVID deaths in prisons and jails in TX, was featured in 700 news stories, and had over 400 million media impressions.

Black and grey cartoon drawing of a prison surrounded by barbed wire and featuring a home-shaped cutout.

Advocating for independent governmental oversight

Michele co-authored an Op-Ed in The New York Times titled, "What's Going On in Our Prisons?" urging New York lawmakers to set up a system of effective independent governmental oversight to ensure the health and safety of people in custody.

Screenshot of 2015 Ted Talk video featuring Michele Deitch.

"Why are we trying kids as adults?" A TEDx Talk

Designated a TEDx Editor's Pick for January 2015, with over 100,000 views to date, Michele's lecture focuses on the harms caused by housing youth in adult prisons and jails and details the changes necessary to keep juveniles out of the criminal justice system.

Image of Michele Deitch participating in a plenary panel.

Addressing the International Corrections and Prisons Association

Michele spoke about the need for prison oversight on a plenary panel at the International Corrections and Prisons Association conference in Toronto along with the heads of the oversight bodies for the UK, Canada, and the U.S. DOJ.

Inspiring the Next Generation


Texas 10 list

Michele was named to the 2019 Texas 10 list of the most inspiring professors at The University of Texas at Austin for her work with students. She has mentored countless students now working in the criminal justice reform field, including at organizations like the Council on State Governments, Pew Research Center, the Sentencing Project, the Alliance for Safety and Justice, the Correctional Association of New York, the Texas Fair Defense Project, and the Texas Sunset Commission.

Alcade article. Black text on white background with a burnt orange circle at the top that has the Texes Exes logo within.

Changing lives through research

UT’s alumni magazine “The Alcalde” featured an in-depth story about the impact that Michele and her students were having on policies affecting youth in adult jails. The article said that their work was “changing laws and saving lives.”


Exposing students to reality of incarceration

Students participate in tours of prisons and jails, and talk with people who are incarcerated, correctional staff, administrators, and family members.

photo of students presenting at the conference.

Showcasing student work

LBJ and law students have co-authored high-profile reports, and have presented their research at national conferences.