Angel Alejandro

Angel Alejandro joined the CFSY in February of 2020 and serves as Grants Officer on the Development team. In this role, Angel works closely with the Director of Strategic Planning to help educate diverse stakeholders on issues related to extreme sentencing.

Angel was incarcerated at the age of 18 for a crime he committed when he was 15, and he was not released from prison until the age of 39. He spent his time incarcerated educating himself and came home with two degrees and several certifications, including one in Business Entrepreneurship.  During his studies, Angel served as a tutor for other students as well as a facilitator in the mentoring programs “Alternative to Violence (AVP)” and “Victim Impact” to help people who have committed harm understand how their choices affect others. He is also a member of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN), an initiative of the CFSY which amplifies the voices and leadership of formerly incarcerated youth.

Outside of work, Angel relishes his role as an uncle to his ever-expanding family and rediscovering his hometown of NYC. He also loves to work on strategy as an avid chess player.

Sahar Sarshar

Sahar joined the CFSY in September 2019, after 14 years of producing video content nationally and internationally. She has won multiple awards, including the coveted News and Documentary Emmy award in 2016 for Outstanding Feature Story in a News Magazine.

Her videos have impacted millions of people all across the globe which is her favorite part of the job, along with being able to connect with people from all walks of life.

 Sahar has a Master of Arts in Visual Media Arts from Emerson College. Her friends have also made good use of her psychology degree from George Mason University with free counseling and therapy sessions. Sahar believes a job you love isn’t a job at all, but when she isn’t at work, you can find her baking, creating healthy new recipes, taking pictures, or obsessing over office supplies.

Catherine Jones

Catherine Jones joined the CFSY team in January of 2020 and serves as the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN) Leadership Development and Support Coordinator. In this role, she works closely with the ICAN Coordinator to support members of the network—particularly the women. Catherine acts as a a mentor and first-responder to ICAN members as they transition into their new lives. She is also a spokesperson for the CFSY and ICAN in the media, and speaks to groups throughout the country in support of our public education and advocacy efforts.

Catherine, herself, is a formerly incarcerated youth. Incarcerated at the age of 13 for murder, she was not released until the age of 30. She spent her time incarcerated educating herself and came home with a degree and several certifications, including one for certified law clerk. Under the supervision of Fresh Start Ministries, she designed and taught a curriculum for abused women focused on emotional healing and building self-confidence. Her experiences with the penal system as a child sparked a passion inside of her 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.

Eric Alexander

Eric joined the CFSY team in 2017 and currently serves as the National Advocate & Co-Director of Movement Building. In his role, he speaks to groups throughout the country in support of our public education and advocacy efforts. He is also a founding member of ICAN (Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network) and works with formerly incarcerated youth to help engage them deeply and strategically in the movement for the fair sentencing and treatment of all children.

At 17 years of age, Eric was arrested and subsequently charged with especially aggravated robbery and first-degree murder. Aware that the court was seeking a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, he pled guilty in order to receive two 25 year sentences (with a chance for parole) to be served concurrently in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. He was later paroled in 2004.

After his release, he began to volunteer in Alternative Schools for students with behavioral issues. He joined AmeriCorps Community Health Corps and assisted in establishing full-service medical clinics inside of local high-schools that provided health care to poor and underserved students and families. Eric became an independent vendor for the public school system. He facilitated trainings for school staff and campus security that offered strategies in identifying gang members and providing intervention for them and their families. He partnered with the Juvenile Detention Center and local organizations to provide services for students with trauma-related issues. The goal of this coalition of providers was to keep youth out of the juvenile justice system.  As a Program Director for the YMCA of Middle TN, Eric operated a 3-point program that addressed the socio-emotional development in students with behavioral and academic performance issues.

In his downtime, Eric enjoys spending time with family and cycling. He finds time for a ‘flea market flip’ every now and then.

Crystal Carpenter

Crystal Carpenter joined the CFSY in April 2019 as the Community Assessment and Engagement Manager. This new position bridges the work of several departments working to understand the experiences of individuals post-release, while developing a range of supports and resources to help them thrive. Crystal brings to this role a passion for criminal justice reform that she unearthed more than twenty years ago.

In this role, Crystal works with directly impacted individuals, their families, and communities to ensure multi-directional sharing of data, information, and experiences. Her proximity to the issue provides a unique perspective as she works to educate and train diverse stakeholders on issues related to the harsh realities faced by formerly incarcerated individuals and families. When not at work, Crystal enjoys reading, and watching movies with her family, and cheering her hometown Washington Redskins or UNC Tarheels (alma mater) on!

Eddie Ellis

Eddie Ellis joined the CFSY team as the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN) Coordinator in early 2018. In this role, he works with ICAN members across the country, connecting them to each other and with local resources. He also works with other directly impacted communities, including the family members of juvenile lifers.

Eddie, a native Washingtonian, was arrested and charged with murder at the age of 16 — he was later found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 22 years in prison. He served 15 years and finished the rest of his time on parole.

Eddie came home in 2006 and since that time he has worked on a variety of issues, including reentry, solitary confinement, and on behalf of people with disabilities who are in the system and coming home. He has served on the board of directors of a national legal organization, and helped with client center training for lawyers, probation officers and social workers. He is an advocate for those in the system, a mentor, and a motivational speaker. His lived experience as a formerly incarcerated person provides invaluable insight and depth into his work that allows him to connect with and engage the community he serves.

Karmah Elmusa

Karmah joined the CFSY team in April 2017 and serves as communications director. In this role, Karmah leads the communications team and helms the organization’s public-facing work and efforts to create effective narrative change.

Karmah is a native of Washington, DC and earlier in her career held positions as a journalist at The NewsHour on PBS, The Washington Post Express, Mother Jones, and California Lawyer Magazine. Immediately prior to joining the CFSY she was a communications manager at the Institute for Middle East Understanding, where she advocated for increased coverage of Palestinian human rights in American media.

Karmah holds a BA from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. In her free time, she enjoys reading fiction and running, and is an avid patron of DC’s food and music scenes.

For media inquiries, contact Karmah at kelmusa@fairsentencingofyouth.org, or at 202-289-4677, ext. 113.

Matthew Gritzmacher

Matt Gritzmacher re-joined the CFSY team in fall 2015 after having previously served as Outreach Coordinator. Today, Matt serves as Financial and Human Resources Manager.

After majoring in Linguistics at Boston College with plans to pursue a career in Speech Therapy and Pathology, Matt readjusted his priorities upon joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after graduation. Spending two years as a volunteer, he initially worked as an Employment Specialist at Los Angeles-based nonprofit Chrysalis before joining the CFSY in 2013.

“I knew before leaving the CFSY that I wanted to continue to devote myself to criminal and juvenile justice advocacy, and now I’m able to return to the organization that sparked that interest.”

Matt initially returned to his hometown of Buffalo following his one-year stint with us, where he worked as a freelance writer and journalist, but returned to Washington after a few months and now steps into a familiar setting in his preferred field.

Outside of the office, Matt spends much of his free time walking, biking, cooking, and solving crossword puzzles. He sings in the choir at church and is always happy to evangelize his hometown, including as an avid fan of the University at Buffalo Bulls sports teams.

Greer Hamilton

Greer re-joined the CFSY in August of 2019 after finishing their Master of Arts in Social Justice degree from Loyola University Chicago. As Executive Assistant & Systems Collaborator, Greer supports the work of the Executive and Operations departments. Before moving to Chicago for graduate school in 2017, Greer spent a year as the outreach coordinator for the CFSY. In this role, they engaged with individuals who have been directly impacted by the extreme sentencing of children. 

While a student at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago, Greer also worked as a program assistant at the Br. David Darst Center. The Darst Center is a Catholic immersion retreat center that engages high school and college students in service and reflection. The Darst Center also served as the focal point of Greer’s thesis, Healing Into Genderful Theologies. This thesis centered around the practice of sharing gender pronouns at the Darst Center and imagining theologies of gender that include trans and gender non-conforming people.

In their free time, Greer can be found biking and hiking around the DC area always with a book of poetry by Mary Oliver in hand.

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.