Crime and Criminal Justice

Paul von Hippel

Professor of Public Affairs; Associate Dean for Research

Paul von Hippel is a professor of public policy, sociology, statistics and data science at The University of Texas in Austin, known for his work on summer learning, summer weight gain, research design, replicability of research and missing data. He works on evidence-based policy, education and inequality, and the obesity epidemic. Dr. von Hippel has won three best-article awards for his work on education and obesity, as well as the 2019 Leo Goodman Award for contributions to statistical methods within 15 years of receiving a Ph.D. Before his academic career, he worked as a data scientist, using predictive analytics to help banks prevent fraud. He holds degrees in statistics and sociology from The Ohio State University, as well as degrees in music from Yale and Stanford. He still plays jazz piano.

Michele Deitch

Distinguished Senior Lecturer

Michele Deitch holds a joint appointment as a distinguished senior lecturer at the LBJ School and the Law School, and she directs LBJ's Prison and Jail Innovation Lab (PJIL), a policy resource center focused on the safe and humane treatment of people in custody. She is an attorney who has worked for over 35 years 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 youth 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 publications include a report on the status of correctional oversight in the United States; a report about COVID deaths in custody in Texas; a report on COVID's effects on women in prisons and jails; and many reports on juvenile justice that have helped change the treatment of youth tried as adults.

Deitch's work has impacted public policy through legislative testimony and work with key legislators, including on Texas's Sandra Bland Act. Prior to entering academia, she 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. Her TEDx talk, "Why are we trying kids as adults?" was named a TEDx Editor's Pick in January 2015.

Her teaching awards include being named to the 2019 Texas 10 list of the most inspiring professors at UT Austin. She has been a Soros Senior Justice Fellow, and recieved the 2019 Flame Award from the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE).

William Spelman

Emeritus Professor of Public Affairs

An urban policy specialist, William Spelman holds a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has a background in operations research and evaluation and in local government law, administration and finance. He serviced on the Austin City Council from 1997 to 2000 and from 2009 to 2015.

Formerly associated with the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, DC, Dr. Spelman has developed and evaluated police programs aimed at the apprehension, deterrence and rehabilitation of repeat offenders and solving neighborhood crime and disorder problems. Two of his programs, the Baltimore County (Maryland) Citizen Oriented Police Enforcement program and the Newport News (Virginia) Problem-Oriented Policing program, have been selected as finalists for the Ford Foundation's prestigious Innovations Awards. His numerous publications focus on criminal justice policies, mainly in the areas of community crime prevention, repeat offenders and neighborhood problem solving.

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