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

NewsDecember 8, 2021
New criminal justice policy lab to focus on correctional oversight and improved conditions in prisons and jails nationwide

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin has established a new national policy resource center working to ensure the safe and humane treatment of people in custody and cultivate the next generation of justice policy leaders. The Prison and Jail Innovation Lab (PJIL) serves as a bridge between academic research, practical experience and policy on pressing matters related to independent correctional oversight and conditions of confinement.

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NewsNovember 3, 2021
Essay: Independent oversight is essential for a safe and healthy prison system

Preventive monitoring of conditions in American prisons can help shine a light on what needs to change, writes the LBJ School's Michele Deitch for the Brennan Center for Justice. Her essay is part of the center’s series examining the punitive excess that has come to define America's criminal legal system.

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FeatureAugust 13, 2021
Fall 2021 classes focus on topics from intelligence and foreign policy to Black politics and COVID

In many ways, "public policy" world is as varied as the people who practice it. There is no one path to it; thinkers and doers pursue their passion for service for so many different reasons. The LBJ School was founded to improve the quality of public service in the United States and abroad at all levels of governance and civic engagement. We practice this through interdisciplinary scholarship, hands-on experience and a customizable educational experience that allows students to develop unique skills and expertise.

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