Daryl V. Atkinson is the Co-Director of Forward Justice, a law, policy and strategy center dedicated to advancing racial, social and economic justice in the US South. Prior to joining Forward Justice, Atkinson was the first Second Chance Fellow for U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). While at DOJ, Atkinson was an advisor 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 BJA heard from all stakeholders when developing reentry policy.
Prior to joining DOJ, 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 also was a staff attorney at the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) where he helped develop the Collateral Consequence Assessment Tool (C-CAT), 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 for Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Benedict College and a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.