Adam Hollies

Adam Hollies (he/him) joined the CFSY in June 2022 as the Movement Building Program Associate. In spring 2021, he interned with the CFSY and jumped at the opportunity to return to the organization.

Throughout his time at the University of Rochester, Adam took several deeply impactful classes on criminal justice, abolition, and political organizing. Wanting to apply this learning into supporting substantive change, Adam volunteered with the Rochester Education Justice Initiative (REJI) and Turning Points Resource Center. With these organizations, he supported incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones and fought for criminal justice reform in New York State. Returning to DC to work at the CFSY, Adam intends to continue these efforts towards justice and champion transformative and healing practices for children.

Outside of work, Adam enjoys reading, playing music, commiserating about DC sports, and listening to his records. 

Catherine Jones

Catherine Jones joined the CFSY team in January 2020 and serves as the Co-Director of Outreach & Partnership Development. In this role, she holds leadership positions in both the Movement Building and Strategic Partnerships departments, responsible for helping bridge these areas of work. Catherine develops and implements a range of projects and initiatives, aimed at ensuring those returning from prison, particularly members of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN), have meaningful opportunities to prosper and thrive. This includes fair chance hiring, systems change, and collecting and distributing concrete resources to CFSY’s network of directly impacted and formerly incarcerated individuals. Catherine also conceived of and oversees “Heart to Heart,” a program and support group for female-identified ICAN members to create and experience mentorship, crisis response, and peer support. 

Catherine is a seasoned and sought out public speaker and content expert on criminal justice reform. She presents nationally to diverse audiences, and her story and expertise has been highlighted in numerous articles, podcasts and documentaries.

Catherine herself is a formerly incarcerated youth and proud ICAN member. Incarcerated at the age of 13 for murder, she was released in 2015 at the age of 30. Her experiences as a child within the penal system sparked her passion to be a voice for those she left behind and for the ones who will come after her.

When not wearing her advocacy cape, Catherine relishes her role as Mommy to her two beautiful children.

Undrea Jones

Undrea “Gem” Jones joined the CFSY staff in February 2022. Gem spent more than 21 years in prison beginning at 16 years old. She utilized her time behind bars wisely, amassing an array of certifications and accomplishments that she put to use upon her release. She is an active member of several social justice and advocacy groups including the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network and “The 539ers,” and she has testified before Congress to advocate for transparency in youth sentencing. Gem has also advocated for reform in the media, publishing editorials in the Arkansas Democrat and creating a Facebook page “What about us behind the walls,” dedicated to changing the narrative between the public and the “forgotten incarcerated.” She has also published and performed a powerful creative writing piece, “Compassion Works for All,” about a day on the inside of a maximum-security prison.

Gem’s mission is to to help bring about sentencing reforms to end mass incarceration and to help returning citizens re-enter society successfully. She is dedicated to living her life with gratitude for second chances and the opportunity for growth.

Adam Kemerer

Adam joined the CFSY in March 2019.  As a member of the Communications team, Adam works to amplify the messages of formerly incarcerated people and promote advocacy efforts reforming youth sentencing practices nationwide through both traditional and social media.  

As an undergraduate at Brown University, Adam studied criminal justice policy and volunteered at the Rhode Island Public Defender, OpenDoors Rhode Island, and the ACLU.  After leading a campaign to address police misconduct in Providence, Adam moved to Washington, DC in 2015 where he worked to reform law enforcement practices across the country at the Police Executive Research Forum.     

In his spare time, Adam enjoys running, board games, and traveling.

Jody Kent Lavy

Jody Kent Lavy is co-executive director of the CFSY, and was the first staff person hired upon the organization’s founding in 2009.

Jody’s interest in social justice policy began during her undergraduate years at Boston College, when volunteer work and a semester in South Africa deepened her awareness of the ways in which race and class determine economic, social, and educational opportunity. She then spent a service year in Los Angeles through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps working with low-income and homeless men and women, and volunteered in a juvenile hall on the weekends. Getting to know the children facing decades in adult prison at the juvenile hall, and coming to understand the systemic issues facing them and the low-income individuals with whom she worked, affirmed that she would pursue a career in advocacy.

When her service year was over, Jody went on to work for the ACLU of Southern California; while there, she spent three years monitoring conditions of confinement in the LA County jails.  She then moved on to the National Prison Project of the ACLU in Washington, DC, as the public policy coordinator, until she was tapped to head the CFSY.

Under Jody’s leadership, the CFSY has staff has grown significantly, and it serves as a national leader and convener and provides strategic guidance on communications, litigation, and advocacy to attorneys, advocates, and others working at the state and federal levels. Jody has also ensured that people directly impacted by this issue are increasingly at the helm of the movement.

Jody is married, and is the mother of three children. She is also an avid sports fans – in particular, she suggests you don’t mess with the UNC Tarheels and any and all of the teams from her native New England.

Abd'Allah Lateef

Abd’Allah Wali Lateef is a Co-Deputy Director with the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.

In spite of being condemned to life without possibility of parole at 17-years-old—and without hope or expectation of ever being released from prison— Abd’Allah devoted himself to personal and collective transformation. Abd’Allah served as a mentor, religious advisor, faith leader, and reform advocate. He also studied legal jurisprudence and worked as a paralegal at Paraprofessional Law Clinic, Inc.

Since his release, Abd’Allah has continued his advocacy efforts. Today, along with serving as Co-Deputy Director for the CFSY, Abd’Allah is also an member of the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition, a member of the University of Pennsylvania Goldring Reentry Initiatives advisory board, a board member at the Center for Employment Opportunities, a board member at New Leash on Life, and lead fellow for the Media Justice Fellowship sponsored by Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Philadelphia Reentry Think Tank.

Some of Abd’Allah’s work is reflected in the following links:

Enako Major

Enako Major joined the CFSY as Survivor Engagement Coordinator in July 2021. She has spent over 15 years working with survivors of violent crimes and those responsible for harming others, and for many years, her work consisted of working with families and communities impacted by violence against children. As a natural bridge-builder, Enako skillfully holds space for both survivors and responsible parties, providing her with the insight to collaborate with community-based organizations, legislators, and others to provide resources and support for people across the CFSY community. 

Enako’s life forever changed when her family experienced trauma, tragedy and great loss. Her beloved 19-year-old son was shot, and he died 10 days later. She turned her pain, sadness, and loss into a lifelong fight for justice and fair policies. Over the next eight years, Enako and her family experienced the deaths of two more family members as a result of violence. She views each of these devastating tragedies as the loss of not only the victims, but those responsible as well.

She enjoys spending time with family, close friends, and her grandchildren in her downtime. She is also passionate about music, dance, and the art of self-care.

Xavier McElrath-Bey

Xavier McElrath-Bey serves as Co-Executive Director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY) and is a co-founder of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN).

During his many years at the CFSY, Xavier has fought to abolish life without parole for children in America, and has played a role in ending this practice in several states including Nevada, Utah, Arkansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota.  

At age 13, after accumulating 19 arrests and seven convictions, Xavier was arrested, charged with a gang-related murder, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.  

While growing up in prison, Xavier became increasingly remorseful for his past actions and decided to change for the better. Hopeful of someday living a “normal life,” Xavier prepared himself by earning an Associate’s degree in Arts and an Associate’s in General Education from Carl Sandburg College, a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Roosevelt University, and a certificate in Computer Technology. Xavier was also inducted into the Franklin Honor Society for outstanding scholarship.  

In 2002, Xavier was released at age 26 after serving 13 years. 

While volunteering as a YMCA youth boxing coach, Xavier landed his first job as a Starbucks barista and decided to pursue a Master’s degree from Roosevelt University’s Counseling and Human Services Program. He graduated with honors in 2006, and since then, he has worked in various fields including violence prevention, youth counseling, clinical research, youth advocacy, and sentencing reform. Prior to his current employment at the CFSY, Xavier worked for Northwestern University’s Health Disparities & Public Policy program, where he conducted over 800 clinical research interviews with formerly incarcerated youth.  

Today, Xavier is an ambassador for Represent Justice and is a MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) Advisory Council Member. Previously, Xavier served as a board member at the Community Justice for Youth Institute and as a member of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force’s working group on Community and Police Relations.  

Xavier is a prolific speaker who has inspired countless audiences to become reform-minded advocates for the most vulnerable children in our society. Many media and news outlets, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, PBS NewsHour, Steve Wilkos Show, the Marshall Project, and Huffington Post have captured Xavier’s efforts, and his story has also been featured in many literary works, including Howard Schultz’s From the Ground Up and Gordon McLean’s Too Young to Die.  

More recently, Xavier received the 2018 Justice Roundtable Excellence Award, the 2019 JustLeadershipUSA Leading with Conviction Award, and Bright Promises Foundation’s 2021 Champion for Children Award.  

In his powerful TEDx Talk titled “No Child is Born Bad,” Xavier reminds all of us that no child should ever receive a “death in prison” sentence and that all children, including those who have made horrible mistakes, have the capacity for positive change. 

Anna Melbin

Anna Melbin joined CFSY in March 2019 as the Director of Strategic Partnerships. In this role, Anna leads the CFSY’s work with the corporate sector to change systems and create opportunities for those coming home after decades in prison. Anna identifies and cultivates diverse partnerships with businesses to provide job training, employment, mentoring, and a range of other services and resources for people returning to their communities after prison, while helping these partners meet their social impact and JDEI goals. Working in collaboration with directly impacted individuals, Anna also creates opportunities to educate diverse stakeholders on issues related to racial justice, extreme sentencing, and the realities faced by those returning from prison.

Anna has worked for social change for 25 years, with a focus on equipping diverse entities to increase their impact and affect equity and justice for those experiencing poverty, violence, and oppression. She has held multiple national advocacy and social justice positions, and is a seasoned public and keynote speaker. She holds Masters degrees in Public Policy and Social Work from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

When not working, Anna is in her garden, cooking, or hiking the beautiful Maine landscape with her partner and dogs.

Christina Oliver

Christina joined the CFSY team in April 2020 and currently serves as the Major Gifts & Events Manager. In her role, Christina stewards relationships with CFSY’s donor base and works in close collaboration with the CFSY team to engage our community through events.

During her time as a student at Duke University, Christina studied Public Policy, where she focused her studies on criminal legal reform and education. After graduation, she moved to DC and began working in education at EAB, where she cultivated partnerships with regional colleges to promote student success. She’s thrilled to now be a part of the CFSY team, addressing the urgent justice issues that sparked her passion for public policy years ago.

Outside of the office, Christina spends her time reading novels, exploring DC, and spending time with her family in the Philadelphia suburbs.