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Former NE bank robber turned law professor now working on prison reform

Posted at 6:42 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 19:42:53-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Back in 1999, one Nebraska man was sentenced for robbing multiple banks. While in prison he learned the law, and is now a law professor who recently visited the White House to work on prison reform.

Shon Hopwood has gained attention the last few years over his change in career paths. Hopwood grew up in David City, Nebraska. After he felt life wasn't going his way, he decided, with the help of others, to rob banks in rural Nebraska. "I was young, foolish, reckless, and around a bunch of other foolish, reckless, young men and we talked ourselves into this very, very stupid idea." said Hopwood.

Hopwood was caught and arrested in Omaha. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the crimes to which he completed 11 years. During that time he started learning the law, and after a few breaks, it lead to him becoming a law professor at Georgetown University.

"His story of redemption is powerful and the way his life has unfolded is really impressive," said Mark Ashton, Lead Minister at Christ Community Church. Hopwood recently spoke at the church, sharing his story of redemption.

Hopwood recently met with President Trump to work on prison reform. He says too many people are behind bars. "113 million people have had someone in their close to immediate family who will go to jail or prison in their lifetime, that's a high number," said Hopwood.

He is pushing for shorter prison sentences because the longer someone is in prison, he says the harder it is for them to turn their live around. "The longer someone spends in prison the less likely they are to come out and be a law abiding successful citizen," said Hopwood.

He says his main hope is that America doesn't continue to lead the world in the number of people incarcerated.