Jennifer A. Riley-Collins, J.D.

Institute Advisory Committee

Jennifer A. Riley-Collins, is a native of Meridian, MS and a resident of Clinton, MS. She is the youngest of the seven children of Joe H. and Bobbye N. Riley. 

She is a 1987 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Alcorn State University. In 1993, she earned her Masters of Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Texas in one year while serving on Active Duty as a primary staff officer. In 1997, she returned to Mississippi after receiving a merit based scholarship and in 1999 received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Mississippi College School of Law, graduating a full semester ahead of her classmates. She has completed 12 hours toward a Master of International Relations. Jennifer has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Alcorn State University and the Mississippi Institute of Higher Learning 

Ms Riley Collins is the current County Administrator for Hinds County, overseeing the daily administration and operations of the largest and most populated county in the state. She is accountable to the Board of Supervisors for the management of almost 900 county employees and a budget and assets exceeding $200 million dollars. 

Jennifer was the 2019 Democratic Nominee for Attorney General. Her candidacy garnered national recognition and support. Despite having not previously run for any governmental office, she secured the second highest number of votes on the Democratic ballot. 

Jennifer is an attorney licensed to practice in both state and federal courts. Her legal career has primarily focused on ensuring the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all persons are protected. Because of her passion she was was the dedicated former Executive Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, a Senior Attorney with Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Juvenile Justice Fellow at Mississippi Center for Justice. Jennifer has also been an active trial litigator focused on Medical Malpractice and Pharmaceutical Litigation. 

Jennifer has studied and written about issues impacting issues of justice and equity in Mississippi to include issues related to criminal justice reform, juvenile justice, poverty, LGBT rights, and voting rights. She has authored/co- authored a number of professional publications and training materials to include Mississippi, An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Youth Court Proceedings, Published by the National Juvenile Defense Center – Fall 2007, Handcuffs in Hallways, Published by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law – Winter 2017, Exploring Racial Equity for Infants and Toddlers: The Case for Justice from the Start, Published by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law – Spring 2017, and Striking the Right Balance: An Analysis of Body Worn Cameras in Mississippi Published by the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi – Winter 2018 . 

In 2018, Jennifer was recognized by the National Bar Association’s Women Lawyer Division as a Hidden Figure. She is a 2014 finalist for the MS Commission on Status of Women Woman of the Year for the Law Enforcement/Military category. In 2008, she was nominated for recognition as one of Mississippi’s Most Outstanding Women Lawyers. 

Jennifer retired from the United States Army in June 2017 as a Colonel after 32 years of distinguished service as a Military Intelligence Officer. She served a total of 14 years on active duty and 18 years as a member of the U. S National Guard and U. S. Army Reserves. Her duties include deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as stateside deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Her last assignment was Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for the Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs responsible for Army Protection and Insider Threat Mitigation at the Pentagon. Other field officer positions include Battalion Commander of Detachment 8, Strategic Intelligence Command at the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth where she provided support to the Defense Intelligence Agency; Command Inspector General of Power Projection Platform Camp Shelby, and Brigade Intelligence and Security Officer for the 177th Armored Brigade. She has been thrice been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, awarded the Joint Service Medal, and thrice awarded the Army Commendation Medal. She also has received the Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Bronze Distinction. 

Jennifer is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, the Magnolia Bar Association, Mississippi Women Lawyers Association, the National Bar Association, the NBA Women Lawyers Division, Jackson Revival Center Church, Jackson, MS (serves as Legal Ministry Leader and as a member of the Usher and Greeters Ministry, Leadership Jackson, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has been a Racial Diversity Trainer for Leadership Madison. 

Her greatest role in life is that of mother of her three sons, Joseph, Jonathan, and Joshua and grandmother of Travis Michael and Drew Riley.