Kelsey Kauffman founded the Higher Education Program at the Indiana Women’s Prison in 2012 and directed the program until 2017. Constructing Our Future started as part of her Public Policy class at the prison. Kelsey’s interest in prisons and related topics of race and violence began as a teenager with three experiences: marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Montgomery, AL, working with an all-male inmate crew assigned to the Maryland Statehouse where she was working, and living with a tribe of active headhunters in the Philippines. After graduating from Yale in 1971 as a member of the university’s first class of women, Kelsey became a correctional officer at the Connecticut State Prison for Women in Niantic. She later went to graduate school at Harvard where she wrote her dissertation on the devastating effect that working in prisons has on officers. Her book, Prison Officers and Their World (Harvard U. Press, 1988), remains one of the few in-depth studies of men and women who work in prison. In the years since, she has continued to research and write about prisons, including being an advocate for the return of prison nurseries in the 1990s, and investigating problems of white supremacy among prison employees in the 2000s. Kelsey is now a full-time grandmother living in Oakland, CA
Andrew Falk is a Senior Fellow with the Sagamore Institute, with a research focus on criminal justice reform and international environmental and energy law. He is actively involved in analyzing the impact of Indiana’s criminal code revisions and reforms and drafting reports summarizing this research. He also researches and writes regularly on environmental and energy issues, such as the promise of solar energy in Africa and the benefits of secure property rights to protect the environment.
Following law school, Andrew served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Kenneth L. Ryskamp, Federal District Judge, Southern District of Florida, and to the Honorable Brent E. Dickson of the Supreme Court of Indiana. Before joining the Sagamore Institute, Andrew practiced business and environmental law with the Indianapolis firm Kroger, Gardis and Regas. While at the firm, Andrew was introduced to the world of environmental law while working on a large PCB contamination case, and he has remained passionate about environmental issues since that time. He left the firm to join the Indiana Office of the Attorney General and practiced in Criminal Appeals, arguing multiple cases before the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court. He also worked for the Office of Assistant Chief Counsel, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where he assisted with issues as diverse as collecting duties from importers of counterfeit goods to environmental cleanups at Border Patrol stations.
Andrew was born and raised in the Midwest, living in Iowa and Kansas before moving to Indiana. He now lives in Indianapolis with his wife and four children. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and managing his fantasy football teams.
Board of Advisors
State Representative Karlee Macer is a resident and native of Wayne Township, on the west side of Indianapolis.
As president of the Wayne Township Education Foundation, former president of the 40 West Business Association, and the Community Relations Manager at Northwest Healthcare Center, Karlee has worked with students, workers and business leaders to accomplish shared goals in the community. She is a founding member of the community and economic development non-profit, Indy Gateway, focused on improving the quality of life for everyone on the west side. By fighting for industry in both the public and private sector, she has worked to create jobs with livable wages in House District 92.
Karlee is the ranking minority member on the Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee and serves on Commerce, Small Business, and Economic Development Committee, and Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee.
Board of Advisors
Julie A. Fidler is the Housing and Services Specialist for the Office of Public Health & Safety. In this role, Julie provides linkages to housing and services for the Department and for persons who are re-entering the community from correctional and justice settings.
Julie has a great deal of expertise in managing housing and community development grants from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has a strong knowledge and understanding of regulatory requirements and expectations. Julie has participated on a number of housing and community development efforts. She also has experience with planning efforts related to community development such as: Consolidated Planning, Blueprint to End Homelessness, and has completed housing needs assessments, gaps analyses, and strategic plans. Julie participates regularly in community meetings and provides assistance and expertise in triaging housing and prevention cases at the client level.
Most recently, Julie has been involved very closely with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in crime prevention efforts. She has participated in Public Safety Efficiency Teams and is serving on the Executive Committee for the InPAcT (Indianapolis Parole Accountability Team) as well as providing the links to human services for those who are being welcomed back into the community from the Department of Corrections.
Julie is passionate about improving the lives of Indianapolis residents. She strives to implement policies and programs that have impact and create opportunities to use housing as a stabilizing influence in the lives of special populations.
Board of Advisors
When I held a power drill and inserted a drill bit for the first time, I was scared. I doubted my ability to become a skilled craftsman. No aspect of this type of work came easy to me. Although unsure of myself, I persevered. I learned how to install drywall, apply laminate and weld steel. I also learned the joy of working as a team toward a collective goal. I can still remember the exhilaration I felt when my class built an 8-cycle concrete renewal labyrinth in 24 days. Talk about an “all hands on deck” experience. With my class, I went on to build kitchen and bath cabinets for Habitat for Humanity, a banquet table for the governor’s mansion, rotunda desks for the Indiana Court of Appeals and many other projects. The teamwork, carpentry, and construction skills I’ve obtained will serve me for a lifetime. I was released from the Indiana Women’s Prison in early September, 2017, and am now a Ph.D. student at New York University.
Today, I’m a part of Constructing Our Future because I want the participants to know the joy, pride, and deep feeling of accomplishment that comes from building or refurbishing anything, especially a home. It’s empowering in a way few understand. The entire program is formulated to create successful post-incarcerated women. I desire to see a generation of well-equipped women leaders coming out of mass incarceration demonstrating how to effectively heal, grow and acquire skills while incarcerated and build self-sufficient, sustainable and accomplished lives post-incarcerated. We know better than most what is needed to counter recidivism and overcome the circumstances that brought many of us to prison, and COF – created entirely by incarcerated women – is our solution.