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Davis to retire from Piedmont Regional Jail

Piedmont Regional Jail (PRJ) Superintendent Jim Davis has retired several times, but he believes the latest retirement, set to go into effect Aug. 1, will be the one that sticks.

Jim Davis

“Oh yes, it will this time,” he said.

This will end his third stint with PRJ since the jail’s opening.

“I was the assistant superintendent when they opened the doors in ’88,” he said.

Back then, he was also the chief jailer at the jail.

“It was so small I had both titles,” he said.

He was with PRJ for roughly five years during that first stint before moving on to other work.

He worked for Richmond City Jail and retired from there in 2004.

“I came back (to PRJ) in 2012 until ’17 and was doing all our compliance and accreditation work,” he said. “Then I left in November of ’17, and they called me back in February of ’18.”

He was in retirement when that call came in 2018. Since February of that year, he has served as the jail’s superintendent, holding interim status initially before becoming the official superintendent a few months later.

Davis explained why August 2020 is the time he felt it was best to retire for good.

“I had open-heart surgery about a year-and-a-half ago,” he said. “I’ll be 80 years old in September, and I figured it’s time for me. I’ve had the little retrospective on my life and where it’s going from there, and I decided I feel the jail is in a comfortable situation and let somebody else handle it. And I want to go home and do what I want to do for the next how many years I’ve got.”

He and his family are happily settled in Farmville.

“We’re planning to stay here,” he said. “I’ve been in the same house in Farmville for 33 years — I’m staying.”

Davis said his career has been in corrections for about 35 to 40 years.

“Basically, it started in the mid-’70s,” he said. “I went to work for a drug treatment program, did all their court work and prison work and ran a tier at the Richmond City Jail, drug tier.”

He worked for Rubicon Inc. in Richmond, a company offering substance abuse rehab services.

“They came to Burkeville, and I ran the first phase treatment,” he said. “They went back (to Richmond), and I didn’t want to go.”

He preferred life in the country.

“I went to work with Crossroads, and that’s what kept me here,” he said.

He started working at Buckingham Correctional Center in 1983. Meeting his wife in Farmville also helped keep him in the area.

Davis originally came to Virginia for school. He went to Bridgewater College, graduated in 1963 and has been in the state ever since.

Before going into corrections, he said he worked at some state agencies and then taught at a high school in Staunton.

“I taught and coached football and track, and I got my master’s at (University of Virginia) while I was teaching,” he said.

Looking back on his time with PRJ, Davis said he was pleased with some of the improvements he oversaw.

“We finished up the $5 million intake area,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of physical changes to upgrade an older facility, and I think we’ve moved the jail to a little higher level than it was when I came here, and hopefully, the next person will carry it to the next level.”