‘He Was a Man of His Word’: Woman Freed by First Step Act Thanks Kushner for Personally Helping Her Land Job

A woman believed to be the first person freed by the First Step Act was helped by someone in the Trump administration to land a job.

Catherine Toney was released on February 1 after serving 16 years in prison and was honored at the White House Black History Month event. While at the event, Toney was asked by White House adviser Jared Kushner what her plans were.

According to the Washington Examiner, she told him about her hope to work at her local Walmart. Kushner immediately offered to reach out to see if he could help her land the job.

“He promised me he was going to do it,” Toney said to the Washington Examiner, and a few days later, she was called by Walmart offering her an interview.

Toney spoke about her gratitude toward Walmart and Kushner, saying he was responsible for giving her the opportunity.

“She had someone from Walmart meet me at Starbucks to do the application. In prison, I had no clue how to properly work a computer,” Toney said. “I’m at Walmart doing orientation today. [Kushner] made that possible.”

Alex Edelman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The woman praised Kushner for being a man of his word and said that she was impressed with him helping her to succeed.

“I went to the White House, but I came home to nothing, not anything at all. By him calling corporate himself, he made sure I got in this Walmart where I asked,” Toney said. “He was a man of his word and he did what he said he would.”

As IJR reported, the First Step Act was the most extensive prison reform passed in recent years and addressed many issues within the criminal justice system. While speaking at the Black History Month event, Toney said that the Trump administration’s work on criminal justice reform gave her a chance to live a better life.


“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be standing before you all today with my daughter and my granddaughter,” Toney said. “I’m so thankful to them and I’m so thankful to God.”

Toney will attend an event with President Trump and other former inmates to celebrate the bipartisan achievement of prison reform.