John Conroy is best known for his two books (Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture and Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life) and for his extensive and ground-breaking coverage of the Chicago police torture scandal, which involved more than 100 victims. Conroy’s articles were cited in cases argued before the Illinois Supreme Court and the the U.S. Court of Appeals and ultimately helped to free four men who had been resident on death row in Illinois. The four, pardoned by Governor George Ryan in January 2003, sued the city of Chicago, alleging that they had been tortured into confessing to murders they had not committed, and in early 2008, the city settled the suits for $19.8 million. In the wake of the settlement, the New York Times quoted the mother of one of the victims saying she thought her son would be dead but for Conroy’s articles.
John Conroy’s work has been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and his reports on criminal justice issues can also be heard on Chicago Public Radio. He is a frequent lecturer on college and university campuses and has also written speeches, reports, and editorials for private clients.