Drawing on the wisdom of thirteen years of direct involvement with the criminal justice system, Mr. Johnny Perez is 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. More than 75,000 individuals of diverse religious backgrounds have participated in NRCAT’s work through telephone and e-mail campaigns, public events, and education and organizing work in congregations and other interfaith bodies. 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 advocacy in the United States.

Photo by Dorie Hagler

In addition, Johnny works to change unjust policies and practices in the criminal justice system as a member of the NYC Bar Association’s Correction and Reentry Committee and a member of the NY Advisory Committee to The US Civil Rights Commission. He also sits on the Board of Directors at the Juvenile Law Center, a non-profit public interest law firm advocating for the rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the child welfare and justice systems.

A sought after speaker and organizer, Johnny has been invited to provide major presentations 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.

Johnny’s recent collaboration with ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign on the challenges of reentry resulted in acceptance into the Sundance Film Festival. Mr. Perez has made appearances on Now This, Capital Tonight, and recently in the new short film: After Rikers: Justice By Design about a future NYC without Rikers Island jail complex in New York City. Johnny is a father to a teenage daughter and newborn son. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from St. Francis College of Brooklyn where he mentors formerly incarcerated students.

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