Matthew Gritzmacher

Matt Gritzmacher (he/him) has been with the CFSY since 2015 and currently serves as Managing Director, Finance & Compliance.

Matt’s behind-the-scenes role helps keep the organization running smoothly, from payroll and budget development to benefits administration, tracking relevant labor laws for our growing team, and working on operational and logistics challenges when they crop up.
Outside of his home office in Hawaii, Matt is a voracious crossword solver and spends much of his free time walking, biking, cooking, and doting on his pets; cats Zelda and Angus and dogs Franklin and Remy. He sings in the choir at church and is always happy to evangelize his hometown of Buffalo, including as an avid fan of the University at Buffalo Bulls sports teams.

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.

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 a senior fellow at 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.

Callie King-Guffey

Callie joined the CFSY team in January 2023. She seeks narrative and political change for and with children who experience systems of excessive punishment.

Before joining CFSY, Callie worked at the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for over six years, where she enjoyed managing various advocacy initiatives that brought millions of children’s voices into decision-making processes and helped establish new norms around child and youth participation. She has also worked on ending the school-to-prison pipeline in California, implementing alternatives to incarceration in Oregon, improving reentry in New York, and advancing sentencing reform in Louisiana.

In 2022, Callie received her Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard. There, she collaborated with the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth on her capstone with Human Rights Watch which measured how US states fail to meet global standards for children and their rights, including the internationally adopted standard that no child should be sentenced to life without parole.

You can find Callie with a heavily caffeinated beverage at all hours of the day. To unwind and decaffeinate, Callie enjoys fresh air.

Abd'Allah Lateef

Abd’Allah Wali Lateef is 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 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:

Xavier McElrath-Bey

Xavier McElrath-Bey serves as 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. He began to envision a better life where he would be able to put his remorse into action — what he has referred to as his “eternal apology” to the victim in his case, Pedro Martinez, and his family.
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. In 2016, he met Pedro’s family in a restorative justice healing circle. That day, they forgave him and forged a relationship that continues to this day.
In addition to leading the CFSY, Xavier currently serves as a Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) Advisory Council Member at MacArthur Foundation, an Advisory Council Member at Eighth Amendment Project, an Ambassador Alumni with Represent Justice, and an Advisory Council Member at Fair Chance Institute (FCI). He’s also served as a board member at the Community Justice for Youth Institute (CJYI) and as a member of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) working group on community & police relations.
Outlets including the New York TimesPeople MagazineChicago TribuneTeen VoguePBS NewsHourThe GuardianThe Marshall Project, and others have shared Xavier’s story and advocacy efforts, and in recent years, he received the Justice Roundtable Excellence Award, the JustLeadershipUSA Leading with Conviction Award, the Bright Promises Foundation Champion for Children Award, and the 2023 Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize in recognition of his visionary leadership and groundbreaking advocacy efforts at the CFSY.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.

Christina Oliver

Christina joined the CFSY team in April 2020 and currently serves as Senior Development Manager, Major Gifts. 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.

Preston Shipp

Preston Shipp joined the CFSY in May 2019 and serves as Associate Policy Director. In this role, Preston provide strategic guidance, support, and leadership to states that are working to eliminate life without parole and other extreme sentences for children. He works directly with state-level advocates and legislators.

For several years, Preston served as an appellate prosecutor in the Tennessee Attorney General’s office. While serving as a volunteer and teaching college classes in Tennessee prisons, he became good friends with many people who were incarcerated, one of whom he had actually prosecuted. These relationships caused Preston to wake up to the many injustices that are present in the American system of mass incarceration. Unable to reconcile this conflict, Preston left his career as a prosecutor in 2008. Since then, he has taught in universities and churches, lectured at conferences, and written about the urgent needs for criminal justice reform, a shift in how we regard imprisoned people, and a new vision of justice that seeks healing, transformation, and reconciliation. Preston lives in Nashville with his wife Sherisse and their three children, Lila Joy, Ruby Faith, and Levi.