Senior Fellow Andrew Falk provides leadership for model reentry program for incarcerated women

Sagamore Institute Senior Fellow Andrew Falk is an accomplished attorney who has argued cases before Indiana’s Supreme Court, but it is his role as the first executive director of a reentry program for residents of a maximum security prison for women that was the subject of a recent NPR interview.

Constructing Our Future (COF) provides a pathway for eligible members at Indiana Women’s Prison back into private society with certified construction skills. The program, conceived and created by inmates during a structured study of public policy, calls for abandoned homes in the City of Indianapolis to be used for hands-on learning, and in turn, the refurbished real estate becomes affordable housing.

COF team member D’Antonette Burns, who is incarcerated at the Women’s Prison, gave this statement, “It is our expectation that just as the abandoned property is renovated, so too will the perception of the people doing the renovations. Our hope is that where blighted neighborhoods and people incarcerated were perceived to be of no value, both will attain value, one house at a time.”

This groundbreaking reentry program continues to gain support since April 2017, when the Indiana General Assembly gave it their unanimous stamp of approval.

“The latest research indicates that the programs with the highest success rates, both in terms of increasing employment opportunities and in reducing recidivism, are those that take the most holistic approach to treating all of the underlying challenges that formerly incarcerated individuals encounter upon re-entry,” Falk said. “Constructing Our Future provides this holistic approach, and we are excited that the Legislature has endorsed this program.”