Interview with Roderick Johnson


Roderick Johnson is a formerly incarcerated advocate for incarcerated people, victims of sexual violence and human trafficking, the LGBT community, veterans, and people affected by mental illness. While incarcerated at the Allred Unit from 2001 to 2003, Johnson was repeatedly sexually assaulted, and when trying to report the abuse, faced sexual and racial discrimination. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Johnson later sued prison officials. His story became national news and inspired the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) to protect incarcerated people from sexual abuse and sexual slavery. In this interview, Johnson talks about those experiences, in addition to his experiences with substance abuse, mental illness and trauma, and solitary confinement. He discusses how his past informs his current work as an activist. This interview was recorded on May 11, 2018 at the home of Roderick Johnson, in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.