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Sheriff Reece says all jails in Tennessee are required to be PREA certified

The Johnson County Jail along with all jails in the state of Tennessee are now being required to become PREA certified before July 1, 2017.  What does that mean?
PREA, which stands for Prison Rape Elimination Act, is a federal law that was enacted in 2003 with the goal of eliminating sexual abuse in a confinement setting. These standards became effective in August 2012. For the state of Tennessee, all jails are expected to be certified before July 1, 2017. These requirements are monitored by the TDOC (Tennessee Department of Corrections). If PREA certification is not met, the jail could lose their state contract on housing state inmates, which in turn could be a huge loss to the county’s revenue.
In October of 2016, we were able to hire a PREA Coordinator for the Johnson County Jail, that would be in charge of making sure that all criteria was met, in order to reach our goals to pass certification before July 1, 2017.
Upon hiring our PREA Coordinator, Donna Griffin, in October, she began the process of gathering all of the information that would be required of us to be certified before our deadline. Donna began to self educate herself through hours of research, compiling regulations and even visiting other facilities that were already PREA compliant and certified. After obtaining regulations and overseeing the implementation of the regulations, we were ready for our first audit.
I am very happy to say that upon our first audit, after implementing all of the new changes to be compliant, that we passed audit and are receiving our certification. Johnson County Jail will become one of the first 10 jails in Tennessee to receive certification.
I would like thank numerous people that any part of helping to ensure that the jail received our certification on our first audit.
I would like to thank Donna Griffin, our PREA Coordinator for all of her time and hard work for gathering information on something that we had to learn from the ground up. She has also spent her time in training all staff with this new information and regulations. She continues to train all new employees and gathering all new information on continuing education not only for the staff but the inmates as well.
I want to thank Lisa Stout, jail Administrator for working so closely with Donna on seeing that all of these new rules and regulations were implemented. She also traveled with Donna to other facilities to try to get a better knowledge of the things we were going to need to change.
I as well want to thank the jail staff for their cooperation and assistance in whatever was asked of them to make the proper changes and carrying out any new procedures that we have had to apply. During the audit,  some staff that were questioned by the auditor on this knowledge of what to do if a certain situation would arise and all the staff did an excellent  job with answering all questions and scenarios.
Passing our audit and receiving our certification has certainly taken a lot of time and work, but I am very pleased to say that everyone has worked very hard together to ensure that we were prepared before July 1 of this year.  We will continue to house state inmates, in order to maintain our state contract and receiving revenue for the county.  Thank you again to all of those that had any part of us obtaining our certification
Thank you,
Sheriff Mike Reece