Correctional Administrator Debra Johnson was found murdered in her residence on the grounds of the West Tennessee State Penitentiary on August 7, 2019.
She was attacked by an inmate who then escaped from the facility using a tractor. The escapee, who was serving a sentence for aggravated kidnapping and rape, remained at large for five days before being taken into custody. He was charged with first-degree murder, burglary, aggravated sexual assault, and escape.
Administrator Johnson had served with the Tennessee Department of Correction for 38 years and started her career as a correctional officer.
In June 2020, the Tennessee Women for Prison was renamed the Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center.