Michelle Jones

Chair, Board of Directors

Michelle Jones is a third-year doctoral student in the American Studies program New York University.  She is interested in excavating the collateral consequences of criminal convictions for people and families directly impacted by mass incarceration, in addition to participating in a scholarly project challenging the narratives of the history of women’s prison with a group of incarcerated scholars. Even while incarcerated, Michelle published and presented her research findings to dispel notions of about the reach and intellectual capacity of justice-involved women.  Michelle’s advocacy extends beyond the classroom through collaborations and opportunities to speak truth to power. While incarcerated, she presented legislative testimony on a reentry alterative she created for long-term incarcerated people that was approved by the Indiana State Interim Committee on the Criminal Code and has joined the advisory boards of the Lumina Foundation and the Urban Institute.

She is a founding member and chairwoman of the board of Constructing Our Future, a reentry alternative for women created by incarcerated women in Indiana and a 2017-18 Beyond the Bars fellow, a 2017-18 Research Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, and a 2018-19 Ford Foundation Bearing Witness Fellow with Art for Justice, 2019 SOZE Right of Return Fellow, 2019 Code for America Fellow and 2019-2020 Mural Arts Fellow.  Michelle is currently under contract with The New Press to publish the history of Indiana’s carceral institutions for women with fellow incarcerated and formerly incarcerated scholars.  As an artist, further, Michelle is interested in finding ways to funnel her research pursuits into theater, dance and photography.  Her original co-authored play, “The Duchess of Stringtown,” was produced in December 2017 in Indianapolis and New York City and her artist installation about stigma, “Point of Triangulation,” ran September 26, – October 1, 2019 in New York.

Kelsey Kauffman

Board of Directors

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.

Karlee Macer

Board of Directors

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.

Karen Wurster

Secretary, Board of Directors

Karen is a marketing consultant as President, Eagles Shores Consulting which she founded after retiring as a Marketing Executive at Eli Lilly and Co. Karen has a deep belief in the difference that stable housing in a supportive environment can make in a person’s life. In addition to serving COF, Karen is on the board of PACE (Public Advocates in Community re-Entry), and is an active volunteer with Back on My Feet and Habitat for Humanity

Lisa Livingston

Board of Directors

Lisa Livingston brings strong experience in helping women find success through supportive housing and services. She is the founder and executive director of the Breakaway recovery house in New Albany, IN. Lisa also brings construction experience she has developed as the co-owner of Lisa’s Roofing and Construction.

“I am in recovery and my passion is helping women with drug and alcohol problems loving them until they can learn to love yourself.”