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Christopher  Poulos

Christopher Poulos

Attorney & Recovery Advocate

Christopher Poulos

Attorney & Recovery Advocate


Christopher Poulos is an attorney and the Executive Director of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council. Prior to his appointment, he served as Executive Director of Life of Purpose Treatment at the University of North Texas, where he was also an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice. During law school, he served at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and The Sentencing Project. Poulos has advised United States Senator Angus King (I-Maine) on addiction and justice policy and served on several local, state, and federal taskforces related to criminal justice policy. The United States Department Justice consulted with him as one of the nation’s most successful people following incarceration. He graduated cum laude from the University of Maine School of Law, where he was President of the American Constitution Society and represented children facing criminal charges as a student attorney in the Juvenile Justice Clinic.

Poulos is a national leader in criminal justice policy and addiction recovery. He has spoken to diverse organizations across the United States – including state and federal prisons, large nonprofits, national conferences, universities, the White House and other governmental bodies, and addiction recovery organizations. His message transcends addiction and incarceration and is vital for any person or organization hoping to get “unstuck” and excel towards their goals. He also provides consulting on addiction recovery and criminal justice policy. 

Prior to law school, Poulos overcame many obstacles, including tragic family losses, addiction, homelessness, and a federal incarceration. He now dedicates his life to helping others overcome or avoid similar challenges and he supports a public health-based approach to addiction. His work promotes equal access to the law and seeks to end mass incarceration and the collateral consequences now facing the tens of millions of people with criminal convictions.

Poulos’s work and story have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, Harvard Law & Policy Review, The Epoch Times, and a myriad of other national and local media outlets. He was named among "Maine's Most Intriguing People” in Portland Magazine's annual publication and selected as a “Law Student of the Year” by National Jurist Magazine.

Speaker Videos

TEDx: How I Went From Federal Prison to Capitol Hill

Recovery Story

Speech Topics

Power of Perseverance: From The Big House to The White House

Mr. Poulos shares his personal journey from addiction, homelessness, and federal incarceration to college, law school, and working with the nation's leaders at all levels of government. Mr. Poulos insists he is in no way unique, and shares the techniques, will, and strength that he utilized to make his current life a reality. His story and message provide a roadmap for facing and overcoming incredible adversity no matter what the details may be.

Intersection Between Addiction & Criminal Justice System

Mr. Poulos shares his professional and personal experience regarding the connection between untreated addiction and substance use and criminal justice system involvement. He shares proven methods to promote the treatment of substance use issues and disorders as a health issue rather than a moral failing that must be addressed through criminal consequences.

Collateral Consequences 

Having a history of addiction, arrests, or convictions can haunt people well after successful treatment is completed and any penalties imposed by a court are undertaken. Mr. Poulos shares his personal and professional experience with these matters, including methods individuals can employ to overcome these barriers and policies that should be advocated and implemented that mitigate these risks.