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Statement By Brenda Watkinson

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

I have been asked to share with the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission how much Richard (Rick) Watkinson #347172, has developed and matured since his incarceration at 16 years old up until today at him being 41 years old.

In writing this letter I can not speak of what propelled Rick of committing his crime other than his adverse childhood and being raised in a dysfunctional family. Often, he was abandoned with no parental support, no guidance and with no professional resources. He recklessly walked his juvenile path completely broken mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. “Truths” were rarely given or offered to him. Rick became pretty much a loner living his life half hazardly.

Being I was from a dysfunctional and abusive family I reached out to Rick through letters, I deeply believed , and still do, that a juvenile does NOT commit a crime of this magnitude without having an extremely distressed and dysfunctional life.

Children are NOT born with wickedness; they are programmed or abused there are many horrible reasons that a child becomes a disaster in life. Being I was writing Rick trying to encourage him, and show him kindness and understanding, his lawyers introduced me to him personally. They encouraged me to continue to be understanding and supportive to Rick being he was completely shut down, and broken.

Upon meeting Rick he was “visually” lost, his eyes were grey and he was with few words, I will NEVER forget his ignorance pertaining to the judicial system, he was told through out his childhood “an eye for an eye”, he full heartedly believed that he was going to be placed on death row and be executed execution style. His words broke my heart, a juvenile knows minimal regarding LIFE, they do not have the wisdom nor experiences to positively maneuver through life. I have known and spent 25 plus years with Rick. I have seen him at his worse, he was not prepared to be placed in an ADULT facility with an ungodly amount of time.

In the beginning he had to put on an “insecurity filled bravado”, often just to make it through a day and or months. He thought he knew it all until he really started doing the HARD time of prison. Rick has missed so many lessons in life, so many experiences, so many positive adventures. It has been extremely difficult for me at times because I feel I have had to let him crash and burn, just so he could/can experience some of lives encounters. To date he is still lacking, the outside of the wire, life experiences but he has worked hard alongside of mentors to conquer many endeavors. From owning homes, to managing family businesses, being married, divorced, and then remarrying. There have been so many endeavors and tasks that having family, a foster father, along with Ricks perseverance and positive drive have assisted in his growth in every aspect of his self-developing.

It has taken Rick years of self-studying, taking college courses, spiritual courses, programming, volunteering, working, teaching and so much more. It has taken increments of time and experiences in witnessing Ricks maturity evolve. The biggest step in his maturing is when he recognized “change” and “resolve”. Two words he alone had to come to terms with. At the age of 16 through thirty he was fighting not only within himself but with the circumstances he was being introduced to. By his mid-thirties he was on a positive path, at 41 years old he has flourished into a man with integrity, he is productive, honest, and he has credibility; all in all, he is an honorable man.

People who have been incarcerated as juveniles and have been given an un-godly amount of time without hope of being released within a reasonable amount of time, does NOTHING for their reasons to evolve in a positive manner. It would be astonishing to see reviews taking place every 5 years or so with this group of individuals, so that each feel that hard work and living a productive life pays off.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration,

Brenda Watkinson

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