A former prison inmate is sharing his story of redemption and second chances, and how Jesus' grace changed his life, which pushed him to become a successful lawyer.
Shon Hopwood received a 12-year sentence in 1998 for robbing five different banks. While serving time, prison officials assigned him to work at the correctional facility's library.
The inmate then poured his energy into reading books about law in the hopes of getting a legal relief on his case. Eventually, he also helped out other inmates.
"I found that I had an aptitude for the law and started helping other prisoners while I was there," Hopwood shared with CBN.
Hopwood's life took a surprisingly good turn when two of the cases he filed before the U.S. Supreme Court won. He was also asked to work on a case with prominent lawyer and former U.S. solicitor general Seth Waxman. The latter would become Hopwood's legal mentor in his remaining years in prison, as he told "60 Minutes."
Today, Hopwood is a teacher in criminal law at Georgetown University. In the first few years after he got out of prison, however, Hopwood said that he couldn't find a well-paying job right away despite his reputation for helping win cases. And he found his criminal record to be an obstacle.
The former convict, however, did not lose hope and acknowledged that Jesus Christ influenced his second shot at a good life. "Grace is the primary reason for my success," Hopwood told Breaking Point.
But Hopwoop did not convert to Christianity while in prison. That happened when he got out and was planning to get married to Annie Metzner, a woman who wrote to him frequently during his incarceration. A family minister told the couple that they had to undergo pre-marital counseling, but they ended up talking about Jesus.
"He laid out the gospel and asked us what we believed," Hopwood said. "[I realized] I needed Jesus bad. I prayed for Jesus to forgive me of my sins."
Hopwood is not alone in experiencing a second chance from God after serving time in prison.
Charles Colson went to prison for the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, but he converted and became an evangelist. He also formed the Prison Fellowship Ministries that still helps inmates reform through the Bible today.
Another notable convert is former Brooklyn mobster Michael Franzese who made a lot of money in the mafia until he too landed in prison. The woman who eventually became his wife influenced him to become a Christian. Franzese said his faith in Jesus made him walk away from his former life and he established the Breaking Out Foundation.