Daryl V. Atkinson is a nonresident senior fellow at American Progress. He is the co-director of Forward Justice, a law, policy, and strategy center dedicated to advancing racial, social, and economic justice in the U.S. South. Prior to joining Forward Justice, Atkinson was the first second chance fellow for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). While at the DOJ, Atkinson was an adviser to the Second Chance portfolio of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a member of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, and a conduit to the broader justice-involved population to ensure that the BJA heard from all stakeholders when developing re–entry policy.
Prior to joining the DOJ, Atkinson was the senior staff attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, where he focused on criminal justice reform issues, particularly removing the legal barriers triggered by contact with the criminal justice system. Atkinson also was a staff attorney at the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, where he helped develop the Collateral Consequences Assessment Tool, an online searchable database that allows the user to identify the collateral consequences triggered by North Carolina convictions.
Most notably, in 2014, Atkinson was recognized by the White House as a “Reentry and Employment Champion of Change” for his extraordinary work to facilitate employment opportunities for people with criminal records. Atkinson is a founding member of the North Carolina Second Chance Alliance and serves on the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Benedict College and a juris doctor from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.