Monday, January 24, 2005

Texas prison system loses a good one

Richard Watkins is a special guy. It's a shame he's retiring as warden of the Holliday Unit in the Texas prison system in Huntsville, but after 10 years as warden and 20 overall as a corrections employee, he deserves it. Watkins, who is Huntsville's NAACP branch president, told a reporter from the Huntsville Item he wished he'd worked himself out of a job: "I always hoped we would be able to send so many of these (prisoners) back home that we wouldn't need all these prisons," he said late last week. Watkins told the paper:
"I have a lot of great memories here," he said. "But it is the simple things that matter the most. There have been times when we have been able to help the staff out, but it's the times where we have seen changes in the behavior of some of these inmates.

"These guys are going to go back to our neighborhoods, and we want to facilitate change in their lives so they can go back better than they came in and we tried hard to facilitate that."

Charles Brown, former spokesman for TDCJ and close friend of Watkins, said the retiring warden is "one of the most giving persons I have ever met."
I wish I could tell readers the whole Texas correction system viewed its job that way, but Watkins is a standout. Enjoy your retirement, Richard. Buena suerte, amigo.

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