Changing Policy and Practice
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Showcasing student work
LBJ and law students have co-authored high-profile reports, and have presented their research at national conferences.