Deitch, Michele | 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 distinguished 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.

Courses Taught
Media Expertise
  • Children
  • Judiciary
  • Crime & Criminal Justice

Newsworthy

Media MentionJuly 15, 2021
Why more women are dying in jails

Michele Deitch said jails and prisons can work to be more responsive to women inside while public officials address systemic challenges women face in society overall that lead to incarceration.

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Media MentionJuly 14, 2021
Trauma on top of trauma: why more women are dying in jails

The 19th spoke to Michele Deitch and cited her report in a story about the experiences of women behind bars during the pandemic.

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Media MentionJuly 8, 2021
Almost 150 guards are staffing an empty Texas prison as state officials work on Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to use it for immigrants

While many Texas prisons are understaffed, some dangerously so, the emptied-out Briscoe Unit in Dilley is in "maintenance mode" as officials scramble to implement the governor's plan to increase the state's role in border enforcement.

“They’re doing this on the fly. I don’t think anyone has thought through any of this,” said Michele Deitch, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin’s public affairs school and expert on prison and jail conditions.

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