Co-Founders of Prison Professors

Shon Hopwood, Justin Paperny and Michael Santos are co-founders of Prison Professors. Our team helps people prepare for best outcomes after they’ve been charged with a crime.

Shon Hopwood

Shon Hopwood’s unusual legal journey began not at law school, but federal prison, where he learned to write briefs for other prisoners while serving a 12-year sentence for bank robberies. Two petitions for certiorari he prepared were later granted review by the United States Supreme Court, and he won cases for other prisoners in federal courts across the country. Since he became a licensed attorney, Shon’s record of success has continued. In 2016 alone, he won three federal habeas appeals before the Fourth and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Justin Paperny

Justin Paperny graduated from the University of Southern California in 1997. Then he built his career as a successful stockbroker. His practice at notable firms—that included Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and UBS—specialized in representing professional athletes and hedge funds. Some bad decisions led Justin into problems with the criminal justice system, including a felony conviction for violating securities laws. A federal judge sentenced Justin to serve an 18-month prison term. In prison he grew determined to make amends, not through talk, but through daily, incremental action. Believing others could benefit from his experience, he began documenting his journey through a daily blog and through his book, Lessons From Prison.

Michael Santos

Michael Santos served 26 years in federal prisons of every security level. While incarcerated he earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University and a master’s degree from Hofstra University. Michael’s commitment to success during his first decade prepared him to write several books (including Earning Freedom and Inside: Life Behind Bars in America) that university professors use to educate students about the prison system.

Prison Professors teaches lessons that empower people to live a life of relevance before, during, and after confinement.

Seth Ferranti

Seth Ferranti was 22 years old when he was convicted of participating in a first-time, nonviolent drug conspiracy. His judge sentenced him to serve a 25-year sentence in federal prison back in 1993. Seth’s story provides us with a remarkable journey of success through prison. Seth’s personal history reveals him as a true prison professor.

While facing a quarter century in prison, Seth began to prepare for success. He studied through college courses while at the Federal Correctional Institution, in Manchester, Kentucky. The prison was rated as a medium-security FCI. It also held high-security prisoners.

Ingrid Okun

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University followed by graduate studies at Christie’s Education in London and the Gemological Institute of America which led to a successful career in jewelry at a luxury goods firm in New York City.  In 2013, upon being made redundant at her firm, Ingrid made a life altering mistake which led to a felony conviction and a prison sentence.

Gerard W. Bryant, Ph.D.

Dr. Bryant has worked as a psychologist for over 37 years in a wide variety of clinical settings, to include non-profit, government, higher education and private sectors.  In these settings he has provided individual and group therapy, crisis intervention and psychological assessment services. He has an extensive background in forensic psychology and the supervision of psychological professionals working in forensic settings.

Jennifer Myers

Jennifer is an author, speaker, and an associate Prison Professor. She works with our team as a coach, and she works to end our country’s problem with mass incarceration. Jennifer helps clients who want to qualify for alternatives to incarceration and the best possible experience in prison.

Jennifer grew up among the cornfields as a Midwestern farm girl. After graduating with a B.F.A in Dance and Choreography, she moved to Chicago where she toured as a performer and as a choreographer. Eventually, Jennifer became the artistic director of her own dance company.

Matthew Hagy

Matthew graduated from The College of New Jersey with a BA in Health and Physical Education, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. He also had 4 highly successful years of college football while at TCNJ. Matthew has been a high school Health and PE teacher for over 20 years. Matthew is a Certified Health Coach and successful business leader of his company Shaping Lives, LLC. He and his team have helped over 1,400 people lose thousands of pounds while providing them with the proper coaching, tools and knowledge to maintain a healthy body weight.

Joshua Boyer

My name is Joshua Boyer. On February 8, 2001, I was arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) after becoming involved in a sting operation in Tampa, Florida. In July, I proceeded to a jury trial and was convicted of numerous drug and firearm violations. While my criminal history was limited, conviction on these counts exposed me to a significant sentence. Due to mandatory minimum penalties associated with federal conspiracy offenses and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, I faced a minimum sentence of 20 years. Several months after the guilty verdict, the United States District Court imposed a 24-year term.

Lance Charen

Lance Charen served 10 months at the Federal Prison Camp in Cumberland, Maryland. He entered prison intent on making the most of the time ahead of him. He lost more than 100 lbs, and read more than 100 books while also developing multiple business plans and re-evaluating past choices, relationships with friends and family and identifying what was really important to him and his future.
Prior to his sentence he had built and run several successful businesses in the solid waste, recycling and manufacturing spaces. Along the way he was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, served as President of a global trade association and was profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer and other media outlets. He attended Syracuse University where he received his BS in Economics.

Beth Neugass

Beth Neugass has been working in the field of criminal justice for over 30 years. From 1985 to 1991, Beth was a New Jersey state Probation Officer who conducted presentence investigations and wrote presentence reports on defendants awaiting sentencing. In 1991, Beth became a Federal Probation Officer with the United States Probation Office for the District of New Jersey, retiring as Senior Deputy Chief in October 2018, after over 27 years of service. In that capacity, Beth assisted the Chief in all personnel matters and in making operational and administrative decisions.

David M. Rosenfield

David M. Rosenfield, a member of Herrick’s Litigation Department, concentrates his practice in white-collar criminal defense, corporate internal investigations, securities regulation and litigation, bank regulation, and food and drug industry investigations. David represents and defends individuals and corporations before federal agencies such as the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the SEC, the FDIC, Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, including the FDA; state agencies such as the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice; and self-regulatory agencies, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

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