Following a December report of noncompliance from a state watchdog agency, Tarrant County commissioners directed staff to look at ways to end the county’s contract with the private jail in Garza County.

The Giles. W. Dalby Correctional Facility in Garza County has housed Tarrant County inmates since 2022, with the county contracting for a maximum of 500 inmates to be in the facility, documents show.

Commissioners expressed displeasure about the lack of communication to the county from the jail about the noncompliance notice.

A closer look

On Feb. 2, Brandon S. Wood—executive director for the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, a state regulatory agency for county and municipal jails in Texas—sent a letter to Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn notifying the sheriff of the facility’s noncompliance in six areas with state standards and that a review of the facility’s corrective plan found that five of these had been corrected.

“During a review of the remaining area of noncompliance regarding inmate disciplinary reports, it was determined that issues remained, and the facility was instructed to provide additional reports for review,” Wood said in the letter.

Management & Training Corporation, which operates the Garza County jail, said in a Feb. 2 letter to Tarrant County that staff plans to officially request reinspection if no further issues are found with inmate disciplinary report documentation.

The TCJS report listed the following six deficiencies:
  • One inmate needed a level of care Dalby was not able to provide due to the facility having no trained personnel with knowledge of how to monitor the inmate due to the inmate’s condition. It was recommended to transfer the inmate to higher level of care, but the inmate was not transferred elsewhere and was released over a month later without the necessary treatment.
  • Mandatory safety training, such as fire drills, was neglected by staff. In the first quarter of 2023, none received training, while in the third quarter, 88 out of 111 staff members missed it.
  • Jailers are required to check on inmates at least once per hour, and more frequently in certain circumstances. Dalby jailers were late on about 42% of these checks as reviewed by TCJS.
  • Documentation of restraining incidents and subsequent checkups every 15 minutes was incomplete, with five hours of missing records.
  • In at least 10 disciplinary cases, inmates were not provided with a 24-hour written notice of claimed violations.
  • Logs proving that inmates received their mandated three days of recreation were unavailable from jail administrators.
The action taken

During the Feb. 6 Tarrant County Commissioners Court meeting, a number of residents spoke during public comment asking the county to end its contract with the Dalby facility.

Commissioners adjourned to a lengthy executive session to discuss the contract with the county attorney. Upon returning, County Judge Tim O’Hare made a motion to have the county administrator write a letter to Management & Training Corporation expressing the county’s displeasure and that the county intends to “explore all options to get out of this contract.” The county administrator was further directed by O’Hare to bring commissioners options for housing prisoners in a different location and getting out of the contract “sooner rather than later.” The motion was passed unanimously.

“I can tell you that every member of the court finds the failure to be notified of the falling out of jail compliance to be unacceptable and very disturbing,” O’Hare said. “We are also equally disturbed over the different issues that they fell out of compliance over. Simply unacceptable.”