Chalana McFarland is a 2021 Presidential Executive Clemency Recipient, being freed after serving nearly 16 years in federal prison as a non-violent, first-time offender. Prior to her incarceration, she practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia, after graduating from John Marshall Law School. She is an honor graduate of Florida A&M University where she earned a B.S. in Journalism.
Since her release, Chalana has become a vocal advocate for criminal justice and prison reform. She is a sought-after keynote speaker and is the author of the upcoming book Collateral Consequences. She currently volunteers as a Project Manager for CAN-DO Clemency, co-chairs a legislative reform cohort and serves as the Administrative In-Reach Coordinator for the Ladies of Hope Ministries (The LOHM) and is an organizer for the Women of Color Initiative (GA). Additionally, she serves on the advisory boards for Fighting4Freedom, the Atlanta Incarcerated Art Project, and Atlanta Women on the Rise. She also served as a faculty member for the 2021 National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys 20th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference. Chalana is a featured contributor to the column “Clemency Corner” for the Westside Gazette (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida).
Chalana is also tasked with serving on the Commutation and Pardons Work Group for the Justice Roundtable, Forever Families Ad Hoc Work Group, and Prison to PhD (P2P) mentor. Chalana has appeared on NPR, StoryCorps, PBS NewsHour, A Neighbors Choice, and The Roach Brown Show on Sirius and iHeart Radio. Her story has been featured in Web stories curated by the ACLU and Vera Institute sites. She is the proud mother of a college graduate student and currently resides in Atlanta.