"If we can't keep drugs out of maximum security prisons how can we expect to keep them out of our schools"
Richard Kimball Watkins was the senior warden of the "Holliday Unit" a Texas state prison where he was responsible for the operations of that 2000-bed facility, the conduct of 500 employees and the annual budget of 9.3 million dollars until his retirement in February 2005. Over the last eighteen years, Richard says he learned more about the failure of the war on drugs with each new visiting day, as he saw hundreds of families of those incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses striving to continue relationships with their loved ones in that bleak setting.
Dr. Watkins is a decorated Vietnam veteran pilot who received the Purple Heart Medal and the Air Medal with eight-oak leaf clusters. Captain Watkins' helicopter was shot down during the Tet offensive where he was wounded and listed as missing in action for a brief time.
The Executive director of the Texas prison system recruited Dr. Watkins in 1984 to re-design the correctional officer's training program to make it comply with a federal court order. For the last ten years of his service, prior to his retirement, he served as a senior prison warden.
Richard and his wife operate a training and management-consulting firm along with a Texas horse ranch.He serves on numerous boards and councils and truly believes that " A life of service is the life that counts." Richard is currently Criminal Justice Committee Chair for the Texas State Conference of NAACP and is Chair and co-founder of the Windsor Village United Methodist Church's Veterans Support and Assistance Program.
Richard received his doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 1995, his master's degree in business administration from Texas Southern University in 1975, and his Bachelor's of Science in Animal Science from Prairie View A&M University in 1965.