Illinois Governor Appoints Five New Commissioners

Recently appointed by Illinois’ Governor and Lt. Governor, the Commission welcomes its five newest members. Members are appointed for their training, experience, and special knowledge around prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency or the administration of justice. Read bios of our newest members below:

  • Briana Payton: Payton is a recent 2020 graduate of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA). At SSA, Briana concentrated in Administration and Policy and specialized in criminal justice transformation. As an SSA Masters candidate, Briana interned with the Federal Public Defender Program where she advocated for improved sentencing outcomes for individuals facing federal charges. Prior to SSA, following her graduation from Princeton University in 2017, Briana worked for the North Lawndale Employment Network, which supports individuals who have been formerly incarcerated as they re-enter the workforce. Briana came to Chicago with hopes of serving and advocating for people disproportionately impacted by issues of poverty, unequal access to opportunity, and the criminal justice system. Her experience doing this work thus far has been transformative and she looks forward to remaining in Chicago and continuing to build alongside others to achieve greater justice and equity at the local and even national level. 
  • Marshan Allen: Allen is a Research & Policy Fellow with Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP). Prior to joining FJP, he was the Policy Director for Restore Justice Foundation (RJ) and brings a long history of criminal justice, policy, and advocacy experience. Marshan received a sentence of life-without-parole for an offense that occurred when he was 15 years old but was released after almost 25 years because of the US Supreme Court’s decision in Miller vs Alabama. In 2006, Allen assisted the Illinois State Bar Association with a revision of Post-Trial Remedies: A Handbook for Illinois’ Prisoners. He has earned certificates in Restorative Justice and Paralegal Studies, among others, and holds an associate degree from Lake Land College, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Allen will graduate from Northeastern Illinois University during the Summer 2020 with a bachelor’s in Justice Policy & Advocacy.

    Allen is a member of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN), a project of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY), where he serves on the Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Illinois’ Emerging Adult Policy and Practice Network. Allen has received several awards including, the Liberty Bell Award and Grace Warren Award. 

  • Era R. Laudermilk: Laudermilk is the Deputy of Legislative Affairs for the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender which protects the fundamental rights, liberties, and dignity of each person whose case has been entrusted to us by providing the finest legal representation.  Laudermilk has served in numerous leadership roles in criminal justice and juvenile justice at the state and local levels, implementing policies that enhance positive outcomes for justice-involved people. 

    Laudermilk is a University of Chicago Civic Leadership Academy (CLA), Class of 2020; Black Women Lawyers Association T.E.A. Director’s Institute Fellow, Class of 2019; Chicago United for Equity (CUE) Fellow, Class of 2019; and Edgar Fellow, Class of 2016.  In addition, she has served on several boards and commissions in Illinois.  Laudermilk holds a BA in Political Science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a JD from the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Illinois. 

  • Savannah (Sav) Felix, LCSW: Felix currently serves as the Legislative Coordinator at the Justice Advisory Council. In this role, she is responsible for the coordination of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s criminal and juvenile justice legislative reform agenda. Felix has over ten years of experience providing direct services and policy advocacy alongside youth and young adults directly impacted by the criminal legal system. She received her Bachelor of Arts and a master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. She is currently a member of the Illinois Emerging Adult Policy and Practice Network and the National League of Cities Emerging Adults Community of Practice. 
  • Amanda Klonsky Ed.LD., MSW: Dr. Klonsky has worked as an educator in jails and prisons for more than 15 years and speaks widely on issues of education and incarceration. Her work focuses on expanding access to education for people who are impacted by mass incarceration.  Klonsky earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership at Harvard University (2018) and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Chicago (2011). Her doctoral thesis traces the stories of young men in Chicago who were detained in the Cook County Jail during the period of emerging adulthood.

    She taught youth in confinement in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, where she co-led an arts and literacy program for detained youth. She went on to launch a district-wide initiative at Chicago Public Schools, to support post-release youth in returning to their home communities and schools. Most recently, Klonsky served in the leadership of a large prison education organization that operates in jails, prisons, and detention centers across the Northeastern United States. 

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