Not On My Watch

By Bob Hatrak

and Joan Hatrak

About The Book

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. Together with his wife Joan, Bob tells of his ‘do-it-yourself’ approach. 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 important … a reminder that as a society, we have a long way to travel on the path to justice, equality, and reform. 

Coming March 27 2024

EARLY REVIEWS for Not on My Watch

“An engaging, humane glimpse into a 1970s-era prison. The narrative doesn’t shy away from disturbing stories of violent criminals, but it ultimately affirms Bob Hatrak’s belief in the humanity of the incarcerated and the power of second chances”

5/5 Kirkus

“Quick, engaging… Not on My Watch makes Hatrak’s upbringing as exciting as the [prison] reform stories that follow it…. [a] reminder of the difference dedicated people can make on issues of justice and equality.”

Publishers Weekly/Booklife

“So much is provided here… lively, eye-opening, and worthy of discussion on many different levels.”

Midwest Book Review/D.Donovan

“Hatrak is justifiably famous for his reformation of the New Jersey prison system, he also happens to be a talented writer with a story to tell.”

The US Books of Review

“A memoir that regales the reader with the story of a man who would run one of the more infamous correctional institutions in New Jersey, if not the United States. However, Bob Hatrak’s story does not dwell on the gratuitous or graphic in order to be a fantastic read.”

–  Portland Book Review

Find out more about Bob Hatrak at