Tennessee prison renamed in honor of CA Debra Johnson

The Tennessee Prison for Women has been renamed in honor of Debra K. Johnson who led a distinguished 38-year career.

NASHVILLE, TN — The Tennessee Prison for Women (TPFW) is now known as the Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center. Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order No. 56 renaming the women’s facility in honor of the TDOC Correctional Administrator who was killed in the line of duty one year ago.

Debra Johnson

Johnson led a distinguished career over her 38-years of service to the Department of Correction and TPFW. She joined the facility as a correctional officer in 1981. “Johnson loved being a part of the Tennessee Prison for Women, but more importantly, she loved the staff and cared deeply about improving the lives of incarcerated women,” Commissioner Tony Parker said. “Governor Lee’s executive order is a fitting tribute to a brave and dedicated public servant.”

Johnson rose through the ranks to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and unit manager between 1986-2005. She was promoted to deputy warden of the Tennessee Prison for Women in 2005 and in 2009 she was named deputy warden of the Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility. In 2011, Johnson was promoted to warden of the Tennessee Prison for Women and in 2013 she was named warden of the Turney Center Industrial Complex. In 2016, she was promoted to correctional administrator and oversaw all facilities in West Tennessee.

“Johnson believed in second chances and maintained a focus on the rehabilitation of inmates,” Commissioner Parker said. “She worked hard to prepare inmates to return home by encouraging them to participate in educational, vocational and treatment programs that would help them succeed in their communities.”

On Friday, August 7 marked the one-year anniversary of her death. The department will pause at 8:10 a.m. (CDT) for a moment of silence.

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