Katherine Passley '20

Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs


Katherine Beltres-Passley a Proud Afro-Latina and Miami native born to Dominican immigrant Parents is the  Co-Executive Director of Beyond the Bars (BTB). Katherine is committed to building a world where all people have the resources they need to thrive. She joined BTB as a member in 2020 after her father, who is incarcerated, contracted Covid. She quickly took up a leadership role within the organization, drafting agendas and leading meetings, engaging in policy advocacy work, preparing other members for delegation meetings with elected officials, and more. She became a staff member of BTB in 2021, As Deputy director she shared her knowledge about the criminal court system, through her experience as a field paralegal in the domestic violence task force at the State attorney’s office and administrative specialist at the Margate police department where she advocated for transparency and equity. Her dedication to the liberation of people, way with words as a local artivist specializing in spoken word and personal encounter with the carceral system as an impacted person has helped mold the community organizer she is today. She has supported BTB’s successful campaigns in Miami to make all jail calls free, elimination of daily costs of incarceration and $72M in associated debt, and have contributed to the release of numerous people unjustly incarcerated through BTB’s participatory defense hub.

For her work, she was granted the 40 Under 40 Award by Florida Memorial University, South Florida's only HBCU, was selected to lead an intensive, national organizing academy by Leading Change Network and Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People and Families Movement. She was also awarded a fellowship by Miami-Dade's National Endowment for the Arts, and has spoken at numerous local, statewide, and national gatherings.

She holds a B.A. in criminal justice from FMU, and an M.S in criminal justice from Florida International University.