The spread of COVID-19 has emphasized the need for prison reform, Michele Deitch '82, an attorney specializing in oversight of correctional institutions and prison and jail conditions, said recently.
Speaking with the financial news and analysis blog Naked Capitalism, she said, “because [prisons] are so densely populated and there is little ability to implement social distancing strategies [ … ] it is urgent for all places of detention to immediately reduce the number of people who are incarcerated.”
“Think of these institutions as bathtubs,” she said. “First, we have to turn off the spigot, to reduce the number of people entering the facilities; and second, we have to open the drain, to accelerate releases of people who are already incarcerated.”
Deitch is a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, with a joint appointment at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the School of Law.