Harris County Through the Looking Glass

by Ken W. Good

Original Article Published at Houston Courant in February 2020-

In Alice Through the Looking-Glass, author Lewis Carroll created a sequel to Alice in Wonderland.  Alice climbs through a mirror and enters a world beyond the one she can normally see.  Everything there is reversed, just like a reflection in a mirror -- even logic itself.  In this bizarre reality, running helps one remain stationary, while walking away actually brings one closer.

In 2019, Harris County, Texas entered its own "looking glass," where logic and reason are similarly reversed.  This new world sprang into existence as a result of a settlement in the federal class action case of ODonnell v. Harris County.  Through this agreement the public has been told that simply releasing criminal defendants without accountability will make everyone safer, even though it is creating more crime.  They have also been informed that the growing numbers of failures to appear are not the cause of the increasing numbers of pending cases, although they are.  And they were advised that the escalating number of confrontations between law enforcement officers and individuals who fail to appear is not related to the settlement, despite the fact that it came about as a direct result.  When up is down and down is up, it does not take long to realize you are in a world that has taken a break from reality.

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