Tarrant County is moving forward with a plan for Tarrant County prisoners to return from Garza County after Giles W. Dalby Correctional Facility was found to be in noncompliance late last year.

During the Commissioners Court meeting Feb. 21, the group voted 5-0 to accelerate a timeline for heating, ventilating and air conditioning renovations at Tarrant County jail facilities with the aim to bring prisoners back to Tarrant County from Garza County.

The background

The county first agreed to send prisoners to Garza County in September 2022 due to overcrowding. The contract with Management & Training Corporation was for $18 million and sent 432 prisoners to Post, a town 40 miles south of Lubbock. The contract with MTC was renewed Oct. 3, 2023, which added 68 additional beds for Tarrant County, according to documents.

The commissioners looked at ending the contract for 500 beds at the private jail at the first meeting in February.

A closer look

Tarrant County was notified by letter Feb. 2 of the facility’s noncompliance in six areas with state standards and that a review of the facility’s corrective plan found five of these had been corrected. A letter received from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards on Feb. 12 informed the county that all six corrections had been made.

The conditions

Commissioners voted in favor of Option 1 presented by County Administrator Chandler Merritt, which is to have the HVAC and Building Automation System renovation at the Tarrant County Correction Center completed by Sept. 30 and terminate the contract with MTC, according to documents. The savings would be $1.61 million due to ending the contract before the Dec. 31 end date, but the county needs to give a 60-day notice of termination, according to Merritt.

Additional housing for prisoners is coming on another front in Fort Worth. A contract was award to Komatsu Architecture to renovate Cold Springs Jail to make it a medium-security facility during the Oct. 17 commissioners meeting. It is currently in the design phase, and the TCJS must approve the design before bids can be accepted, according to documents.

Cold Springs Jail has 384 beds. Waybourn said it was a low-risk jail, and that is why the inmates were sent to Garza County.

The two other options considered were:
  • Continue the MTC contract, and consider renegotiation to include penalties and liquidated damages.
  • Terminate the MTC contract and delay the jail HVAC project until Cold Springs renovation is complete.