Canary in the Coal Mine title over a large TDCJ badge superimposed over a set of prison bars, with a disposable face mask hanging off one of the bars.

Canary in the Coal Mine: A Profile of Staff COVID Deaths in the Texas Prison System

Feb. 22, 2022
This report reveals the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic on prison workers in Texas. We found that Texas has some of the worst COVID outcomes among prison staff in the country, even when controlling for size. What's more, in Jan 2021, the Texas prison agency stopped reporting deaths from COVID among people who are incarcerated, making it difficult to assess the true toll of the virus behind bars. The report suggests that deaths and infections among staff may be a proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” warning that the true impact of COVID in Texas prisons has yet to be fully revealed.
Dead man waiting cover. Blue font on white background.

Dead Man Waiting: A brief profile of deaths in Texas prisons among people approved for parole release

June 1, 2021
In a first-of-its-kind analysis, “Dead Man Waiting,” shows that while deaths among parole-approved people increased during the COVID period, this population was already dying in large numbers from other chronic health issues while awaiting release. The report was the subject of a full-length NBC News NOW story, featuring families of people who died after parole approval, as well as several other prominent news outlets.
Cover of Hidden Figures.

Hidden Figures: Rating the COVID Data Transparency of Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Agencies

March 7, 2021
Using a grading rubric we developed from key metrics every state should be reporting with respect to COVID in correctional facilities, “Hidden Figures” reveals a troubling lack of transparency about data regarding the spread, toll and management of COVID-19 in state prisons, local jails and state-run juvenile facilities. The report also offers a set of recommendations on ways corrections agencies and state and local leaders could improve data transparency.
Cover of COVID and Corrections.

COVID and Corrections: A Profile of COVID Deaths in Custody in Texas

Nov. 7, 2020
The report provides groundbreaking data on the impact of COVID-19 in state-operated prisons and county-operated jails in Texas. We found that, as of October 2020, Texas had more COVID infections and deaths among incarcerated people and staff than any other state in the country. The report drew national attention and was featured in over 700 news stories.
Recommended strategies report. Black and burnt orange text on white background.

Recommended Strategies for Sheriffs and Jails to Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis

March 20, 2020
At the onset of the pandemic, Michele drafted this rapid response paper detailing strategies that sheriffs could implement in order to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19 in jails.
Screenshot of the Raising Arizona's Commitment Report, featuring plain text on white document.

Raising Arizona’s Commitment to Health and Safety: The Need for Independent Oversight of Arizona’s Prison System

Jan. 13, 2020
Raising Arizona’s commitment to a safe and healthy prison system fundamentally requires several steps: (1) reducing the size of the incarcerated population; (2) treating all people who live and work in these facilities with dignity and respect; (3) shifting from a punitive culture toward a rehabilitative approach; (4) providing sufficient funding to support safe physical conditions, access to physical and mental health care, rehabilitative programming, and adequate numbers of well-trained staff; and (5) ensuring meaningful and permanent independent oversight of the prison system.
Pace Law Review screenshot of oversight functions, black text over white background.

Distinguishing the Various Functions of Effective Prison Oversight

Sept. 1, 2010
This essay explains what is meant by the term “oversight” and frames it as an umbrella concept encompassing many distinct functions, including regulation, audit, accreditation, investigation, legal, reporting, and inspection/monitoring. The piece calls for a robust system of correctional oversight that is multi-faceted and multi-layered.