Tennessee prison to be renamed in honor of slain corrections administrator

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 56 to rename the Tennessee Prison for Women after a former corrections administrator on the one-year anniversary of her death.

The facility will now be known as the Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center. Debra Johnson served 38 years for the Tennessee Department of Corrections before being killed in the line of duty by a prison escapee August 7, 2019.

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 named Warden of the Turney Center Industrial Complex in 2013. In 2016, she was promoted to Correctional Administrator and oversaw all facilities in West Tennessee.

“Debra 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,” said Commissioner Tony Parker “Governor Lee’s executive order is a fitting tribute to a brave and dedicated public servant.”

The department will pause on Friday, August 7 at 8:10 a.m. for a moment of silence.

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