View Full Version : What is/where is (CRAF) Central Reception and Assignment Facility?

11-15-2004, 07:21 AM
Hi. I am a new member from NJ. I have no idea what CRAF is. Where is it located at in
new jersey?

11-15-2004, 09:25 AM
CRAF is the Central Reception and Assignment Facility and is located in Trenton....there are many posts about CRAF in the sub forum - NJ prison profiles. I'm going to move this question over there, so that you can received more help. HUGS...Keiko

11-15-2004, 02:50 PM
CRAF is the half way point between county jail and prison.

Just LA
11-16-2004, 11:50 AM
Oh boy, CRAF. Let me tell ya' about CRAF. I was there. I'm was a white collar "offender." The most trouble I'd ever been in is getting a ticket for not stopping entirely at a stop sign before proceeding through the intersection. Then you find yourself in a job that's slowly bleeding your soul dry; you get paralyzingly depressed and find yourself doing something you never thought you'd do. No matter what you did to fix the lapse in judgement - even before they knew you were doing it - the prosecutor treats you like you're John-Freakin'-Dillenger. Anyway, I was sentenced to a "flat-3" sentence, which I've since discovered is New Jersey's version of a slap on the wrist. I'd never even SEEN the inside of a jail before then, so even the county facility was a trauma for me. CRAF is that place that NJ sends every single state prisoner so they can be classified and transfered to their respective "home" prisons. It's in Trenton, tucked into an old neighborhood. When you roll onto the grounds it looks like a very old, but not at all well maintained, college. How long you spend in county before being transferred to CRAF varies. I was in county for 3 months before being transferred to CRAF. If you've never been close to the prison system, it's hard to prepare for CRAF. It was opened in 1931, back when prisons were places society threw those they considered garbage. I was told it was originally a facility for the mentally ill (even those who hadn't committed a crime) and those deemed criminally insane. It's changed VERY little since. In 1931 the single compelling factor was to ensure the inmates couldn't escape. So there's razor wire everywhere and bars or grates over every open surface. Most every surface is either concrete or iron. Only those areas frequented by "civilians" are maintained with any real effort toward keeping them clean and presentable.

During your time at CRAF you sit around in either your underwear or a too-big jumpsuit and shower shoes. The de-lousing ritual when you first arrive is humiliating and offensive, but it's not like anyone except the inmates cares. In the words of the guard (I refuse to call them officers since they do nothing but guard) who wakes you your first morning: "the state of New Jersey doesn't give a #@&!* about you! Administration doesn't give a #@&!* about you! And therefore I don't give a #@&!* about you!" Charming, huh?

Depending on your offense, you may be at CRAF for a few days (I was only there for 5 days before going to a minimum security farm) or several months (one guy I met in the yard during rec had been at CRAF for 12 weeks already because he'd been classified to a prison that didn't have any empty beds).

Honestly though, the thing that makes CRAF so bad is the guards and the processes. You're not allowed so much as a roll of toilet paper when you arrive so you have to get it while you're there. However they have a policy that you have to turn in your old roll before you can get a new one. If you just arrived, how are you supposed to do that? They don't give you much when you arrive: one jumpsuit, a couple pairs of underwear and t-shirts, a pair of shower shoes and sneakers, one sheet and pillowcase, one rough wool blanket that smells like it's been stored in an auto repair garage, and one pillow that's so filthy you wonder how many people have used it since it was last washed. They don't give you something as basic as toilet paper. So if you ask for a roll, you've got a better than average chance of asking a guard who will demand that you give him your old roll first. When you tell him you've just arrived and don't have one yet, more often than not he'll talk to you in a tone like you're a 3-year-old who just got caught torturing the cat and say something like "all you 'people' tell me the same thing. No empty roll, no new roll." Then he'll just walk away; so you better not wait until you have to go really bad. What the guards don't like is when you confront them with logic. When the guard I asked for TP said that to me, I replied that people arrive every day at CRAF so he should know that even if all us 'people' say that, it's actually TRUE for some. By refusing unless I have an old roll, what he was saying was I either had to go without or I'd have to steal one from someone else. When I asked him which he'd suggest, he got pissy with me, slammed a new roll into my hand, then walked away with a sneer and a "Merry Christmas." The guards don't know why you're there and CRAF sees every single state prisoner - the men anyway - whether you're a shoplifter or mass murderer, so the guards have long since adopted an attitude that you're all the worst sort possible. And they act accordingly. I don't know that they physically abuse people, but they interact with you with contempt and act as if they're allowed to treat you this way because you're scum. For me, that was the worst part of CRAF. Thank God I only had to be there for five days before I left. What I don't understand is why anyone, after experiencing it, would EVER do something that would result in their return. :( :eek: