Private prison that houses Tarrant County inmates has fixed most violations, state says
Most of the problems the state found at a West Texas private prison have been fixed, but not all, according to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS).
All the prisoners at the Giles W. Dalby Correctional Facility in Garza County come from Tarrant and Harris counties, which pay tens of millions of dollars to use Dalby as an overflow facility for local jails.
TCJS inspectors found jailers at Dalby missed regular checks on prisoners and didn’t attend safety training. Required documentation was missing. One person who needed a higher level of medical care got released without being transferred anywhere.
The violations meant Dalby officials were required to go to Austin on Thursday for a TCJS meeting, where TCJS Executive Director Brandon Wood said Dalby has resolved five out of its six violations.
One problem remains: In 10 cases, staff did not give the proper 24-hour written notice to inmates accused of a violation.
The jail inspector has requested two to four more weeks’ worth of records about that issue, Wood said.
“We want to ensure that that corrective plan of action has taken hold, and they do not experience any more violations before placing them back in compliance,” he said.
After that, Dalby can request a reinspection, Wood said.
The facility was bound to have some problems, because it only opened as a county jail 14 months ago, Dalby official Jon Luna told TCJS members.
“We were certain that they were going to find a couple things coming in, as we were a brand-new facility getting launched,” Luna said. "We tried to do the best that we could."
Staff “worked very diligently and proactively trying to regain compliance,” he said.
Dalby is owned by the private prison company Management & Training Corporation, which operated Dalby as a federal prison until 2022, when the Bureau of Prisons did not renew the contract.
Upon reopening as a county jail, Harris and Tarrant counties started to send local prisoners to Dalby. Like Dalby, Harris County’s jail system is currently out of compliance with the state’s minimum standards.
Tarrant County elected officials and staff told KERA they were never informed the Dalby facility was out of compliance.
KERA reached out to MTC spokesperson Emily Lawhead on Jan. 23 and again on Thursday to ask if the company ever informed its partners the jail did not meet minimum standards.
List of violations
In December, TCJS found Dalby violated six minimum jail standards, outlined in a public notice of non-compliance and summarized here:
- Despite needing a higher level of medical care than Dalby could provide, one inmate never got transferred anywhere and was released from custody more than a month later without the recommended care.
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