Tarrant County inmate dies in custody at private jail in Garza County

An incarcerated person who was transferred from the Tarrant County Jail to a private jail in Garza County under a county contract has died, Brandon Wood, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards executive director, said Monday.

The inmate was pronounced dead Sept. 14 and the jail commission was notified of the death the next morning, Wood said. He declined to provide any more information.

The Giles W. Dalby jail is in Post, 38 miles south of Lubbock.

Tarrant County approved an $18 million contract with jail in August 2022 to move 432 inmates because of staffing shortages and planned maintenance.

At the time, the Tarrant County Jail was around 159 detention officers short. That number has since risen to 235 openings.

Harris County also has a contract with the jail and spent $25 million to send 600 inmates there in July 2022.

Activists in Tarrant County have brought heat to commissioners court meeting ever since the contract was passed to chide what they call the “privatization” of the county jail. The jail is owned by Management & Training Corp., a Utah-based contractor that manages private prisons.

Commissioners reallocated another $22.5 million from American Rescue Plan toward rehousing more Tarrant County inmates at the Garza facility at their September 5 meeting. The new contract has yet to be voted on by commissioners.