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Experts Say the Culture Is Often to Blame When Lock-ups Spin Out of Control

Sept. 23, 2021
Changing the culture of a prison or jail is hard. Michele comments on how long culture shifts can take, even for agency leaders that are determined to make reforms.
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At least 253 people have died in SC jails since 2009. ‘Why was nobody looking?’

Sept. 19, 2021
“That's ridiculous,” said Michele Deitch, a University of Texas at Austin senior lecturer who studies prison and jail oversight. “It's a reason for the..
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Honoring Attica After Half a Century

Sept. 13, 2021
On the 50th anniversary of the nation’s most historic uprising against brutal conditions at the Attica State Correctional Facility in upstate New York, Heather Ann Thompson says there is still a need to hold accountable those responsible for the deaths of people who are incarcerated in America’s prisons. She identifies PJIL’s Director, Michele Deitch, as one of the preeminent scholars holding corrections agencies accountable by researching deaths-in-custody.
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Few incarcerated women were released during COVID. The ones who remain have struggled.

Aug. 17, 2021
PJIL Associate Director, Alycia Welch, is quoted in this article about the impact of COVID-19 on women in prisons and jails, with a particular focus on “The Pandemic Gender Gap Behind Bars,” a report Alycia and Michele wrote on this issue.
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A fight to expose the hidden human costs of incarceration

Aug. 16, 2021
This article chronicles the work of Andrea Armstrong, Loyola University School of Law professor and PJIL’s Advisory Committee Chair, in her effort to document the loss of life inside jails and prisons in Louisiana, the state with the highest in-custody mortality rate. Michele is quoted describing the opacity of local jails, relative to state and federal prisons.
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Prison suicides have been rising for years. Experts fear the pandemic has made it worse.

Aug. 12, 2021
Following a cluster of fatal self-harm in Texas prisons, this article describes a nationwide increase in prison suicides. Michele comments on the way worsening prison conditions during the pandemic may have exacerbated the stress people who are incarcerated experience, making them more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.
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‘They Should Have Been Watching’: Suicides Rise in Texas Prisons During Pandemic

Aug. 12, 2021
Michele is quoted on the additional challenges people who are incarcerated are facing during the pandemic, identifying worsening conditions as making them more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.
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Trauma on top of trauma: why more women are dying in jails

July 13, 2021
On the anniversary of Sandra Bland’s death at a Texas jail, PJIL Director, Michele Deitch, comments on the impact of COVID on the ongoing issue of rising incarceration rates and deaths of women inside jail facilities. The article cites the report about this issue that Michele and Alycia co-authored, “The Pandemic Gender Gap Behind Bars.” Advisory Committee Chair, Andrea Armstrong, is also quoted on the situation facing women in rural and small jail facilities.
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A Half-Million People Got COVID-19 in Prison. Are Officials Ready for the Next Pandemic?

June 30, 2021
“There’s a sense that COVID is over, that the pandemic is behind us, and that is just not the case,” Deitch said. “We have to remember that prisons and jails were hit so much harder than the outside communities were, and in many jurisdictions, they were late to provide vaccinations to incarcerated people.”
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As COVID Recedes in Prisons, Will Any Lessons Learned Stick?

June 30, 2021
The Associated Press and The Marshall Project teamed up to write this article on the ways in which prisons are still ill-equipped to handle future waves of infection. Michele comments on the waning transparency among state and federal agencies about ongoing infections and deaths due to COVID.