Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Daryl Atkinson Joins CAP as Senior Fellow for Criminal Justice Reform Issues
Press Release

RELEASE: Daryl Atkinson Joins CAP as Senior Fellow for Criminal Justice Reform Issues

Click here to watch livestream of the Smart on Crime Innovations Conference on Tuesday 10/10 and Wednesday 10/11.

Washington, D.C. — Today, during the Smart on Crime Innovations Conference at John Jay College, Center for American Progress President and CEO Neera Tanden announced that CAP is welcoming Daryl Atkinson, co-director of Forward Justice and the first second chance fellow for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) during the Obama administration, as a senior fellow. At CAP, Atkinson will be working on criminal justice reform issues such as reentry and helping to change the narrative around justice-involved people.

“We are excited to have Daryl join CAP’s team,” said Tanden. “Daryl is a smart, skilled, and committed lawyer and advocate who uses his life experience as a positive force for change.”

As the co-director of Forward Justice, a law, policy, and strategy center, Atkinson’s work is dedicated to advancing racial, social, and economic justice in the South. During his time at the DOJ, Atkinson was an advisor to the Second Chance portfolio of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and a member of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council. 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.

“Daryl is one of the most powerful voices in the criminal justice reform movement,” said Ed Chung, vice president for criminal justice reform at CAP. “He has a unique ability to give voice, insight, and expertise on these issues, and at a time when criminal justice seems to be one of the few issues counting on bipartisan support, his vision will be instrumental in the pursuit of impactful reform.”

Prior to serving at BJA, Atkinson was the senior staff attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), where he focused on criminal justice reform issues, particularly removing the legal barriers triggered by contact with the criminal justice system. Atkinson was a staff attorney at the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services prior to his tenure at SCSJ.

Atkinson is a founding member of the North Carolina Second Chance Alliance and serves on the North Carolina Commission for Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. He received a B.A. in political science from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

For more information or to speak to a CAP expert, please contact Tanya Arditi at or 202-741-6258.