Jennifer Riley Collins has 18 years of legal experience, having most recently worked as the executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi. While at the ACLU, she led legal and legislative advocacy efforts resulting in significant criminal justice reforms. She has been at the forefront of efforts to de-institutionalize at-risk youth. Riley Collins has successfully championed protections for public benefit recipients and equal rights for LGBT community members. As trusted advisor to state leadership, she has helped craft initiatives to increase voter access to the polls. Her prior experience includes work as a staff attorney at both the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mississippi Youth Justice Project and the Mississippi Center for Justice.
Parallel to her legal career, Riley Collins had a decorated military career in the United States Army where her positions included Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Battalion Commander, Command Inspector General, and Senior Intelligence and Security Officer. She graduated from Alcorn State University magna cum laude in 1987, earned a Masters of Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Texas in 1993 and received her law degree from Mississippi College School of Law in 1999. She is also a graduate of several military leadership schools to include the Naval War College’s Joint Professional Military Education Course, Command and General Staff College, and both Advanced and Basic Officers Course. Riley Collins is also a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow.