Dream Corps

Brian Johnson

When Brian Johnson was given a life sentence for a first-time offense, nearly 30 years ago– his hope for the future was abysmal.  Brian was given a mandatory minimum that railroaded his life and his children’s lives. 

Because of the retroactive sentencing in the First Step Act, Brian was released from federal custody on July 9th, 2019. He served 27 years on a life sentence, and throughout his incarceration, he fought for his freedom. He kept up on sentencing reforms, corrections reforms and most recently, The First Step Act. Brian worked tirelessly to have his lawyers advocate for his release so that he could be reunited with his daughters and grandchildren. His family was the guiding force throughout his incarceration and he was determined to be reunited with them again. 

When the First Step Act was making its way through Congress in December 2018, Brian was watching CNN inside of UCP Atlanta, waiting to learn the final votes of the legislation, he knew that the years of fighting for his freedom, were worth the wait because of the passage of the First Step Act. 

Since his release, Brian has cherished every moment home, from enjoying the freedoms of walking outside without handcuffs, picking what food he’s going to have for dinner, and most importantly– hugging his kids before bed. 

Brian Johnson is a reminder of the importance of having hope while incarcerated and inspiration in the fight for criminal justice reform. His plans for the future are to obtain employment and work to get those he left behind their own freedom. He describes this phase of his life and his own freedom as a true blessing.