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Book details
  • SubGenre:Social Activists
  • Language:English
  • Pages:322
  • eBook ISBN:9781940178691

Not On My Watch

A Beloved Prison Wardens 30 Year Fight For Justice In The Prison System

by Bob Hatrak and Joan Hatrak

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Bob Hatrak: The "Scared Straight" Warden. An inspirational story of how one man with great vision, overcame personal adversity to become one of the most notable and progressive prison reformers of our time.
The memoir 'Not On My Watch', by Bob Hatrak, who was the youngest warden of a maximum-security prison in America, Rahway State, is an inspirational story of how one man with great vision, overcame personal adversity to become one of the most notable and progressive prison reformers of our time. His approach to rehabilitation was 'do-it-yourself'. Inmates were empowered to envision their path after incarceration and were given the choice to join self-rehab groups with common interests. Bob's insight and compassion was the driving force that created the "Scared Straight" program, which he developed in the 1970's, and is still being used today throughout the United States and abroad, as a means of deterring juvenile crime. He is also credited for enabling 'one of the most unbelievable stories in all of boxing', that of James Scott, a convicted murderer, and his rise to be the contender to the title of 'light heavy-weight champion of the world' … while he was incarcerated. Bob's story is personal, professional, gut-wrenching, inspirational … but most importantly… a reminder that as a society, we have a long way to travel on the path to justice, equality and reform
About the author
Now retired, Bob Hatrak, the famed Rahway State Prison warden, had a rich work history. Out of college, he began working as a high school teacher and head basketball coach. He started a career in corrections in 1967 when he accepted the Director of Education position at the Trenton State Prison (New Jersey). In 1973, he was asked to assume the warden's position at the notorious, violent, and riot-torn Rahway State Prison. Serving there, he built a national and international reputation as a reformer. Under Bob's leadership, violence decreased dramatically and Rahway became a prisoner rehabilitation model featuring inmate Self-Rehab Enterprise Groups. He set up a 'Lifers' Group, which became famously known as "Scared Straight" and the Rahway State Prison Boxing Association, a Vocational Trades School, which helped inmates, including the legendary Light Heavyweight, James Scott, navigate professional boxing careers. In recognition for his contributions to boxing, Hatrak has been inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. His approach to prison management helped Rahway go from its prior reputation of 'a notorious, violent, and riot-torn prison' to one that the American Justice Institute honored. Under Bob's watch, a national research project included Rahway Prison among the five most stable maximum-security prisons in America. Once he left Rahway, Bob led a corrections department in the Pacific Northwest, worked as a state department of corrections director and deputy director, and owned and operated a successful prison consulting business with his wife Joan. They did that for twenty-two years. Their client list included many state and county prisons, jails, and department corrections. Joan and Bob live in a senior retirement community in Portland, Oregon. They have two children and four grandchildren.