The visiting booth in the Ellis Unit. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

This week, we’re sharing stories from Ethan Watters, Rachel Monroe, Barry Yeoman, Tom Scocca, and Sarah Gailey.

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1. The Love Story that Upended the Texas Prison System

Ethan Watters | Texas Monthly | October 11, 2018 | 66 minutes (16,500 words)

How Frances Jalet, one of the first women to graduate from Columbia Law School, and Fred Cruz, the first inmate to write a lawsuit on toilet paper that went all the way to the Supreme Court, teamed up to take on the Texas Department of Corrections for unconstitutional punishments and brutality.

2. The FBI of the National Park Service

Rachel Monroe | Outside | October 16, 2018 | 22 minutes (5,548 words)

“There’s a pervasive idea that crime doesn’t happen in our national parks, that these bucolic monuments to nature inspire visitors to be more noble, law-abiding versions of themselves. But parks are filled with people, and people commit crimes.” Enter the little-known Investigative Services Branch (ISB).

3. How a Booming City Can Be More Equitable

Barry Yeoman | CityLab | October 15, 2018 | 17 minutes (4,395 words)

At a time when many U.S. cities are being revitalized — and rapidly gentrified — Barry Yeoman spotlights Durham, North Carolina, his home of 30 years, where activism, diversity- and egalitarianism-minded non-profits, and a community land trust are helping to keep the city inclusive and affordable for those who often get marginalized and pushed out instead.

4. Your Real Biological Clock Is You’re Going to Die

Tom Scocca | Hmm Daily | October 18, 2018 | 6 minutes (1,576 words)

At 47, Tom Scocca realizes most of us are living under the illusion that we have unlimited time, and are free plot out the different phases of our lives to our liking. He crunches some numbers and comes to the conclusion that sooner or later — and who knows which it will be — every one of us is a goner.


Sarah Gailey | Fireside Magazine | October 15, 2018 | 6 minutes (1,556 words)

Sarah Gailey’s short story about a mother whose child was killed by a self-driving car takes full advantage of the web’s ability to play with layouts and links, telling a story that requires the reader to interact with the page as the tale unfolds bit by brutal bit.