Disappearance and Return on the Klamath River

By Katharine Blake McFarland Last weekend I slept in the back of my car by a stream in the Klamath River Basin, a territory that stretches across the top of California and into Southern Oregon. This is how you camp when you don't have a tent, and it still does the trick. You still get…

Prison Reform as Enlightened Self-Interest

by Katharine Blake McFarland I'm sitting in the empty bathtub with all my clothes on and my laptop in my lap, because it's the only place I can't hear the neighborhood jackhammer, when a headline from The Onion catches my attention: 15 Years In Environment Of Constant Fear Somehow Fails To Rehabilitate Prisoner. “About time,”…

The Betrayal of Capital Punishment

by Katharine Blake McFarland Making an argument against capital punishment has always felt to me like a ridiculous exercise. Like making an argument against sticking forks into electrical sockets, leaving your baby alone at the mall, or eating spoiled meat. Its patent indefensibility has often left me at a loss for words. But speechlessness is…

Letters from a Mississippi Prison

America’s singular, unimaginative response to people who break the law is untenable. But meaningful reform necessitates a careful detangling of the political and financial agendas that have rendered the system what it is.

Black and Blue: Measuring Hate in America

by Katharine Blake McFarland On Saturday, September 20, 2013, Prabhjot Singh, a Sikh man who wears a turban, was attacked by a group of teenagers in New York City. “Get Osama,” they shouted as they grabbed his beard, punched him in the face and kicked him once he fell to the ground. Though Singh ended…