Michele Deitch directs the Prison and Jail Innovation Lab at the University of Texas, a policy resource center working to transform the way we treat people in prisons and jails and to improve correctional oversight. She also holds a joint appointment as a distinguished senior lecturer at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and UT School of Law. Her areas of specialty include independent oversight of correctional institutions, prison and jail safety issues, the management of youth in custody, and juveniles in the adult criminal justice system.
Before entering academia, Michele served as a federal court-appointed monitor of conditions in the Texas prison system as part of the landmark Ruiz v. Estelle case; as General Counsel to the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee; as policy director for Texas’s sentencing commission; as a consultant to justice system agencies around the country; and as the original drafter of the ABA’s Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners. She has won numerous teaching awards, including being named to the 2019 Texas Ten List of the most inspiring professors at the University of Texas at Austin; has been a Soros Senior Justice Fellow; and is the recipient of the 2019 Flame Award for the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) for her significant contributions to corrections oversight. She holds degrees from Amherst College, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School.