“Rahway Warden Robert Hatrak had instituted the professional boxing program at  Rahway as a means of rehabilitation, and James Scott remarkably rose to become  the number two World Boxing Association worldwide contender in the light  heavyweight division.”

Excerpt from ‘Combat And Incarceration’ – Trey Sterling

“Two years later, in the wake of an investigation into the causes of the [sic 1971] Thanksgiving Day Riot, Robert Hatrak took over as Rahway’s new superintendent. Now remembered as a great reformer, driven by a belief in redemption and resurrection….”

From ‘Combat-and-Incarceration’ by Trey Stirling

“Warden: The world-famous Dundee 5th Avenue Gym in Miami Beach, Florida, referred to as the World’s Boxing University. When talking to my friends about what you’re doing at Rahway, I refer to your boxing school as the “Prison Boxing University.”

Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Muhammad Ali’s “Fight Doctor”

“Under Hatrak’s watch, there was as much space devoted to shops and classrooms inside Rahway as cells.”

“Hatrak was open to new ideas aimed at rehabilitation. He pushed hard to give inmates a shot at a life outside the prison’s walls.”

“The Academy Award-Winning Film Documentary Known As “Scared Straight” was a Hatrak Initiative.”

Excerpts from ‘Gold In The Mud, The Twisted Saga Of Jailhouse Boxer James Scott’s Battle For Redemption’ – Brin-Jonathan Butler and Kurt Emhoff

“Many of the changes [sic Bob] made were pure genius. The locator, pass office, and operations as examples. Giving credit where credit is due: these, and many more changes, made long-lasting improvements to the system.”

Richard Gilgallon, retired captain, and one-time correction officer at Rahway state prison

“… James Scott and his friends are well informed, so you would forget that you were in prison. It’s like you’re sitting around with many guys just talking sports. And I think we all felt like this: Visiting a kid at camp was like this. After packing up and getting ready to go, Scott would stall; he wanted to show us everything in his cell. Anything to have us stay there.”

Marv Albert – The voice of the New York Knicks

“You are a legend at Rahway. I was a Sergeant at Rahway from 1997 to 2000. Next, I was a captain at Rahway from 2006….”

James B Collins, retired corrections captain at Rahway Prison

“You’re a piece of history Bob and you’re the pioneer of rehabilitation-based corrections.”

Jame Tome, Jerusalem, Israel – 2021

“NBC also wants viewers to understand the importance of the fight program at Rahway, which is one of Gov. Brendan Byrne’s pet projects.”

Mike, Cohen – The Gazette, Montreal Quebec, Canada

“… as if the world had dropped the sum of its sores into one of New Jersey’s gritty smokestacks, then chose not to watch as the experiment results filtered down into place…. from its forbidding rotunda on down, it was a loser.”

Ralph Wiley on Rahway Prison

“As I read Joan and Bob’s manuscript, I found it to be an accurate accounting of the facts and events when Bob and I served together at the Rahway State prison (1973-1979). Bob was the superintendent, and I was the chief deputy. We worked closely together while ensuring that we kept each other in the loop.” 

Jim Ucci, Retired Rahway Prison Chief Deputy


The Scared Straight Documentary, featuring Rahway’s Lifers Group, was awarded an Academy Award.

In a national in-scope research project, the American Justice included the Rahway State Prison in their listing of the top five most secure maximum-security prisons in America.

Honored by the Trenton State Prison inmate population during a banquet sponsored by the inmate committee. Hatrak was presented with a plaque citing “For Your Contribution To Rehabilitation” While He was Trenton Prison’s Director of Education and then later became the Assistant Superintendent.

Althea Records honored Hatrak following Rahway’s vocal group, The Escorts’ live performance at Newark, New Jersey’s Symphony Hall.

Honored by the Rahway Inmate Newspaper, “The Dome,” for the work he did, combatting and reducing prison violence as Rahway’s superintendent.

Hatrak was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2023.

Sports Teams

Left-handed pitcher on the Trenton Catholic Boy’s high school varsity baseball team. He lettered in each of his four years as a student.

Pitched on the Pennington Preparatory School’s baseball team. He was the center of the school’s basketball team.

Pitched on Rider University’s freshman and varsity baseball teams. His Rider career was shortened when, on August 19, 1979, working on a summer job between his freshman and sophomore years, he lost the four fingers on his left hand.

Pitched for four years in Trenton, New Jersey on the North Trenton Post 458 American Legion baseball team. He was named to the League All-Star Team during his second, third, and fourth seasons.