DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - A Millikin University professor and Macon County CASA board member has recently been appointed to the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission.

Keyria Rodgers is one of just 25 people appointed to the commission by Gov. JB Pritzker.

The Juvenile Justice Commission is in charge of advising the governor's office and the General Assembly on the state's juvenile justice plan.

Rodgers has been working with the commission for over a decade, but is thrilled to now be a part of the work they do.

"Being able to join them, it really means more than I can say," Rodgers said.

Her appointment to the commission means a lot to Rodgers personally and will impact Macon County as well.

"Having a commissioner here locally, it also means that other people can voice what it is that they're seeing, what they're feeling, how it is that you know keeping youth out of jail, out of prison, how it is that we can really maybe focus more attention on things that we need to do right here at home to make sure that we don't have to send people away, and we need the community's voice to understand what that really means and what that should look like," she said. 

The appointment is a three-year term and Rodgers said she plans to focus on expungements and restorative justice practices.

"To see a change in terms of re-entry practices and also making sure that we can find ways to have better diversion and deflection services to keep kids out of jail, out of prison (and) out of the system if we can make that work,"  Rodgers said. "That's my number one goal."

In addition, she also hopes to focus on reforming policies she finds to be very biased toward minorities.

"We're trying to focus on reform all together because a lot of the justice policies that have existed over the years, over the decades, they're very biased, especially toward black and brown youth, and so what we want to do is focus on racial disparities," Rodgers said. 

In 2021, Rodgers will have the opportunity to present her work on expungements to the World Congress.

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