Who We Are
The Prison and Jail Innovation Lab (PJIL) is a national policy resource center working to ensure the safe and humane treatment of people in custody and to cultivate the next generation of justice policy leaders. PJIL serves as a bridge between academic research, practical experience, and policy on pressing matters related to independent correctional oversight and conditions of confinement—issues that are an overlooked area of criminal justice reform.
PJIL was founded and is led by Michele Deitch, a distinguished senior lecturer at the LBJ School with a joint appointment at the UT School of Law, and by Alycia Welch, PJIL's associate director and a proud LBJ School alum (MPAff, MSSW '15). They are national thought leaders who bring to this venture a combined 55 years of experience impacting policy, practice, and public perception to improve how people in custody are treated in Texas and beyond.
PJIL is also supported by a graduate student research team that works closely with the directors for training, practical experience, and mentorship to become effective policy professionals and advocates for justice reform.
What We’re Fundraising For
PJIL draws on the best available research to reduce harm inside prisons and jails, help transform facilities into safe and healthy places that respect human dignity, and reduce the need for incarceration.
This fall, your gift will support The Humanization Project, which seeks to change the way we treat people in custody and to improve their basic living conditions,” and our Rapid Response Initiative, which allows us to quickly respond to inquiries by policymakers, the media, and advocates for information about prison conditions and deaths in custody.
One of PJIL’s most important goals is to support graduate students in law and public policy who are passionate about criminal justice reform. We will continue to provide mentorship and research experiences to students through their work on these projects.
Since launching, the support of our generous donors has enabled PJIL to:
- Provide support to over 100 stakeholders who sought our guidance and expertise;
- Issue multiple major reports and journal articles, including reports on COVID deaths in custody that garnered significant national media attention;
- Help develop legislation to strengthen prison oversight in 5 states;
- Begin work with corrections officials and advocates in Louisiana to develop meaningful jail standards;
- Advise government officials in Uruguay on ways to reduce the prison population and provide mental health and substance use treatment to people involved with the criminal justice system;
- Provide amicus support in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that resulted in a rare win for an individual on death row regarding his right to have his pastor pray over him during his execution;
- Testify before legislative committees, task forces, and commissions at the national and state levels;
- Have countless media appearances on a wide range of criminal and juvenile justice issues.
- Provided student researchers the opportunity to co-author and publish 5 high-profile reports;
- Provided students the opportunity to network with advocates, legislative offices, corrections officials, and experts and to share their research on prison issues.
These examples are emblematic of the types of high-impact research and guidance that your gift will support. Your gift will also allow us to respond to new requests while providing students with experiential opportunities that prepare them to be future leaders in the criminal justice policy field.
To Make a Gift
To make a gift to PJIL, please follow these steps:
- Click the “GIVE NOW” button on this page
- “Prison and Jail Innovation Lab” is pre-filled as the Participating Group
- Click the “Fund Designation” pull-down and select “Prison and Jail Innovation Lab”
- Enter the gift size
- Complete your contact information & final steps detail
- Click the “GIVE NOW” button to submit your gift
If you haven’t already done so, sign up for PJIL’s mailing list at www.PJIL.org to be the first to learn about our upcoming projects, publications, and activities.
We’re grateful for your support! Hook ‘em!