About Dr. McClenney

Madeline McClenney is a prison abolitionist and an ordained Baptist minister with over two decades of experience serving the church. She completed a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, and a Master of Divinity Degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she was an active advocate for the homeless. She continued her education at Duke University where she earned a Ph.D in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies in 2001, with minors in Women’s Studies and Islamic Law.

  • In 2018, she was a visiting professor at Duke Divinity School where she taught “Jesus and Moses on Death Row: Biblical Interpretation, Black Theology, and Prison Abolition in the Age of Mass Criminalization.”
  • As an advocate for the underserved, she received a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2001 for her humanitarian work in the community.
  • She served as a sentencing specialist for ReEntry Inc. in Raleigh North Carolina while completing graduate studies. As a sentencing specialist, she went to the court at the time of sentencing to make a case for alternatives to prison for defendants.

ExodusFoundation.org & Publications

In 1999, she founded Exodus Foundation.org, a national Christian faith based charity headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. which serves people of all faiths or no faith at all.The mission of the foundation is to stop the flow of African-Americans to prison. Its banner program is a 24 hour re-entry mentoring program for adults known as the Red Sea Crossings Mentoring and Scholarship Program which provides personal growth coaching, career coaching, job placement, behavioral and street escape support and a host of therapeutic friendship interventions.

  • In 2012, after a national search, the Open Society Institute and Frontlines Solutions recognized Exodus Foundation.org as one of eleven organizations leading in black male achievement.
  • Dr. McClenney has been a guest on several radio and television programs including the Roland Martin Show, Karen Hunter Program, Beverly Smith Show, and Larry Young Show.
  • Since the T&T Clark publication of her dissertation Recovering the Daughter’s Nakedness: A Formal Analysis of Israelite Kinship Terminology and the Internal Logic of Leviticus 18, Dr. McClenney has pivoted toward publishing about re-entry and mass incarceration.
  • Dr. McClenney is one of several nationally known contributors to the 2011 Judsen Press release Ministry with Prisoners and Families: The Way Forward, a groundbreaking tool for pastors and congregations.

In 2015, Judsen Press released Church On Purpose where Dr. McClenney’s chapter appeared entitled, “Believers Unchained: Why Christians Must Abolish Prisons or Stop Preaching the Gospel.” Dr. McClenney was recognized by the Center for American Progress as “1 of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2015.”In 2016, Exodus Foundation.org was awarded the Pride Magazine “Paths Out of Poverty” award for its work to increase upward mobility in Charlotte.

Time’s Up!  Let Me Go Campaign

Dr. McClenney is the chief strategist and creator of the “Time’s Up- Let Me Go!” Campaign and Rally, an effort to support presidential grants of clemency to federal prisoners with exceedingly harsh sentences. The rally was held in Washington, D.C. on October 12, 2016 in front of the White House with national sponsors and local advocates for prison and sentencing reform.

  • Dr. McClenney designed and authored the Exodus Coalition Plan which is endorsed by 48 subject matter experts and agencies.
  • It called for President Obama to release all nonviolent federally convicted and overcharged persons before he left office.
  • It offered a third track to clemency which was submitted to the White House.
  • The recommended protocol would result in the release of up to 80,000 nonviolent and overcharged federal inmates within a 3-5 year period.

Without such a measure, thousands will die in prison. The effort continues as the organization sustains and builds the Red Sea Crossings Mentoring program to support and welcome returning citizens home. She is honored to be the mother of a teenage daughter.

To maximize a better understanding of the issues, be sure to invite Dr. McClenney to present a session on Mass Incarceration the day before the worship service or event. To find out more, click on the link below. Or, to have Dr. McClenney customize a session tailored to your needs, click on the link below.