December 3, 2022

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Off Paper – Episode 15: Bank Robber Turned Law Professor Discusses Prison, Reentry, and Supervision

2 min read

Off Paper – Episode 15: Bank Robber Turned Law Professor Discusses Prison, Reentry, and Supervision

A transcript of this podcast is available at

Host Mark Sherman talks with bank robber turned Georgetown law professor Shon Hopwood about how the system can help and hurt an inmate’s eventual successful return to society. Shon’s unusual legal journey began during a 12-year stint in federal prison for robbing banks. While there, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of two of his petitions and his life made an unexpected turn. Most attorneys never have one petition granted review by the U.S. Supreme Court, so having a jailhouse lawyer have two granted review was unprecedented. While on supervised release, Shon overcame many of the obstacles that stand in the way of most inmate’s successful reentry into society, to include finding a good job and attending the University of Washington School of Law on a Gates public interest scholarship while also working in the chambers of Seattle US District Judge John Coughenour. After graduating, Shon secured a prestigious clerkship with Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Now he’s a member of the bar, teaches constitutional and criminal law at Georgetown University Law School and represents prison inmates before the federal courts. As a criminal justice reform advocate, he also lobbied successfully for the 2018 passage of the First Step Act.

Off Paper: The Criminal Justice Podcast from the FJC focuses on issues of federal criminal justice and, more specifically, how those issues affect probation and pretrial services officers and their clients. When an individual has finished serving any time and successfully completed release requirements, that person is “off paper.”

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