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.