Drawing on the wisdom of thirteen years of direct involvement with the criminal justice system, Mr. Johnny Perez works as the Director of the U.S. Prisons Program for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, an interfaith membership organization comprised of 325 religious organizations working to end U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Through his leadership, Mr. Perez coordinates NRCAT’s existing campaign efforts to end the torture of solitary confinement, adding value and strategic insight to building the capacity of faith leaders and directly impacted communities to engage in education and legislative advocacy across the United States.
He adds insight and guidance as a proud participant on the Board of Directors of the Juvenile Law Center and the Urban Justice Center, both nonprofit public interest law firms advocating for the rights, dignity, equity, and opportunities of underserved populations. Additionally, after three years in solitary confinement, he now leads a national movement to end the practice in coalition with the Unlock the Box Campaign. Mr. Perez recently joined as an advisory board member and research consultant of the Urban Institute’s Prison Research and Innovation Initiative, a comprehensive effort to spur innovation to make prisons humane, safe, and rehabilitative environments.
A sought after speaker and organizer, Johnny has been invited to provide major presentations, and guest lectures, on criminal justice reform at law schools and institutions of higher learning nationwide, including various state, regional, and national conferences on topics including the perpetual consequences of justice involvement, access to higher education, and solitary confinement. His commentary has been published by The New York Times, The Fordham Law Journal, Ebony Magazine, USA Today, and the Daily News. Mr. Perez has made appearances on Now This, Capital Tonight, and the Sundance Film Festival.
He was recent named a 2020 USA Today Leader of Change, where he also serves as a contributing opinion writer. Johnny is a father to a teenage daughter and a three-year-old son. He lives in New York City and obtained his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from St. Francis College of Brooklyn where he continues mentor formerly incarcerated students.