WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The Trump administration says it is seeing success with recently enacted criminal justice reform measures and now states want to make changes of their own.
Catherine Toney spent 16 years behind bars for drug crimes.
Now, she’s out of prison and in the political spotlight as the Trump administration showcases the benefits of a recent criminal justice reform law, which reduces sentences for some non-violent offenders.
Toney has a new job, working at a Mobile, Alabama Walmart.
“I try to work hard. I try to be honest and I’m always positive,” she said.
Brooke Rollins is with the White House’s Office of American Innovation.
She says the administration wants to do more to help ex-cons, like Toney, stay out of prison.
“That’s how you make our community safer, you figure out a way that every American has a chance at the dream,” Rollins said.
The White House said it estimates some 500 people have been released early, thanks to its reform efforts.
Former prisoners say even with an early release, life isn’t always easy.
Matthew Charles said he had a hard time finding a job and apartment back home in Nashville.
“We understand the felon stigma is going to be there, but it shouldn’t prevent you from getting a particular job,” he said.
The White House said it wants state lawmakers to enact their own criminal justice reforms and allow some offenders in state prisons a second chance.