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BJA Visiting Fellows Program: Daryl Atkinson

Daryl AtkinsonDaryl V. Atkinson is the first Second Chance Fellow for U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in her remarks announcing this historic role, stated “this position was designed to bring in a person with expertise as a leader in the criminal justice field—and as a formerly incarcerated individual. Recognizing that many of those directly impacted by the criminal justice system hold significant insight into reforming the justice system”. While at DOJ, Daryl will be an advisor to the Second Chance portfolio of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a member of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, and a conduit to the broader justice-involved population to ensure that DOJ is hearing from all stakeholders when developing reentry policy.

Daryl received a B.A. in Political Science from Benedict College, Columbia, SC and a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis, MN. Prior to joining DOJ, Daryl was the Senior Staff Attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) where he focused on drug policy and criminal justice reform issues, particularly removing the legal barriers triggered by contact with the criminal justice system. Prior to his tenure at the Southern Coalition, Daryl 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. C-CAT served as a model for the American Bar Association’s National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction.

Daryl is a founding member of the North Carolina Second Chance Alliance, a burgeoning statewide coalition of advocacy organizations, service providers, and directly impacted people that came together to achieve the successful reintegration of adults and juveniles returning home from incarceration. Daryl also serves on the North Carolina Commission for Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System.

In 2014, Daryl 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. According to the White House press release associated with the honor, "The Champions have distinguished themselves through their extraordinary dedication and hard work to help those with criminal records re-enter society with dignity and viable employment opportunities.” Attorney General Eric Holder recognized Daryl's transformative journey in his remarks when he said "Daryl overcame his own involvement with the criminal justice system and has since worked to build a better future not only for himself – but for countless others who deserve a second chance."