Rick Whitten may feel a little like a yo-yo with good reason.
In June 2016, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections sent Whitten to Lexington Assessment & Reception Center to serve as deputy warden to then-warden Jeorld Braggs Jr.
He stayed just over two years and in August 2018 was assigned to be the warden at James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helena.
Now he’s back at LARC as interim warden after Braggs was tapped to become deputy director of the agency and moved to Oklahoma City.
Whitten, who moved his family back to Lexington, expressed hope last week that his latest assignment will be more permanent than his past postings.
He began his career in corrections 31 years ago when he became a correctional officer at the Helena prison.
He stayed there from 1990 to 2004 when the DOC transferred him to Oklahoma City to work as a private prison contract monitor.
In 2006, he was made deputy warden at the Oklahoma State Reformatory at Granite – a posting he held until 2011 when he went to work at a private prison at Lawton.
Whitten returned to DOC in 2015, came to LARC the next year, then Helena and then LARC again.
Hence the yo-yo analogy.
Whitten and his wife, Amanda, have three adult children – Kayla, Wyatt and England.
In an interview with The Purcell Register in 2016, Whitten shared the “sense of service” prevalent among DOC employees:
It’s “something corrections folks enjoy,” he explained. “And it’s a chance to help others and be a positive role model.”