Deitch, Michelle | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
Education
  • J.D., Harvard Law School
  • M.Sc. in Psychology, Oxford University
  • B.A., Amherst College
Research Areas
  • Correctional oversight and prison and jail conditions
  • Juveniles in the adult criminal justice system
  • Management of youth in custody
Teaching Areas
  • Social Policy

Michele Deitch holds a joint appointment as a senior lecturer at the LBJ School and the Law School, and is an attorney with over 30 years of experience working on criminal justice and juvenile justice policy issues with state and local government officials, corrections administrators, judges and advocates. She specializes in independent oversight of correctional institutions, prison and jail conditions, managing youth in custody and juveniles in the adult criminal justice system. Deitch co-chairs the American Bar Association's Subcommittee on Correctional Oversight, and helped draft the ABA's Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners. Her numerous articles about correctional oversight include a 50-state inventory of prison oversight models and many reports on juvenile justice that have received national attention. Her TEDx talk, "Why are we trying kids as adults?" was named a TEDx Editor's Pick in January 2015. 

Deitch brings criminal justice policy issues to a broader audience through her frequent commentary in national and local media, and has significantly impacted public policy through legislative testimony and work with key legislators, including on Texas’s Sandra Bland Act. She also chaired the Travis County (Texas) Sheriff’s Advisory Committee on the Women’s Jail, which proposed a reimagined, gender-responsive facility for women.

Prior to entering academia, Deitch served as a federal court-appointed monitor of conditions in the Texas prison system, policy director of Texas's sentencing commission, general counsel to the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee, and consultant to justice system agencies around the country.

She has won numerous teaching awards, including being named to the 2019 Texas 10 list of the most inspiring professors at The University of Texas at Austin. She has been a Soros Senior Justice Fellow, and is the recipient of the 2019 NACOLE Flame Award for significant contributions to correctional oversight.

Media Expertise
  • Children
  • Judiciary
  • Crime & Criminal Justice

Newsworthy

Media MentionSeptember 15, 2019
Virginia Jails Struggle to Screen Inmates, Prevent Suicides

Suicide has long been the leading cause of death in jails around the country.

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Media MentionAugust 5, 2019
3 Texas teens charged after 19-minute beat-down caught on camera in Waco-area juvenile prison

LBJ Senior Lecturer Michele Deitch is quoted in the Houston Chronicle on youth violence in a juvenile prison in Texas. 

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Media MentionJuly 28, 2019
Why a Dallas judge made the rare decision to have a 16-year-old tried as an adult in rape, murder case

The decision to order 16-year-old Lenario Washington, who police say committed several rapes and a murder, as an adult was unusual, made because the judge said the "public was in need of protection." The juvenile justice system typically focuses on trying to rehabilitate accused offenders under 18. LBJ School Senior Lecturer Michele Deitch, a criminal justice expert, weighs in. 

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