Catherine Toney began February in prison and ended the month with a job at Walmart after White House adviser Jared Kushner called company CEO Doug McMillon on her behalf.
Toney, 55, is believed to be the first woman freed by the FIRST STEP Act, which President Trump signed in December. She was released Feb. 1 after serving 16 years, benefiting from the law’s retroactive crack cocaine sentence reductions.
Toney will join Trump on Monday for an event celebrating the criminal justice reform law, his first major bipartisan policy achievement. Other recently released inmates were invited to attend.
Toney met Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and an architect of the reform law, on Feb. 21 when she attended a White House Black History Month event.
Amy Povah, the founder of the CAN-DO Foundation, said that despite criticism, the FIRST STEP Act “has actually exceeded some expectations,” particularly with compassionate releases for elderly or ailing inmates. Still, Povah advocates for Trump to supplement the law with more grants of clemency to prisoners.