Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

The Pop-Up Jail in the ‘Spring Break Capital of the World’

Panama City Beach, Fla., gives new meaning to the phrase drunk tank.

Every year throughout the month of March, more than half a million people flock to Panama City Beach, Fla. The visitors are mostly college students who’ve come to the “Spring Break Capital of the World” for a week of sunbathing and parties. Most return home with, at worst, sunburns and hangovers. But those who partied a little too hardy go home with memories of spring break jail. For four years now, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office has set up its mobile booking center near the beach to process first-time misdemeanor offenders -- spring breakers arrested for, among other things, public intoxication and minor fights. Consisting of two large chain-link holding cells, the facility allows law enforcement to quickly drop off an offender and get back to the beach. All the booking and paperwork is completed at the center, which processes about 2,500 people throughout the month. 

Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
The latest news about government abuse can make state and local lawmakers feel powerless to act to protect their constituents.
CareStart, On/Go, iHealth, QuickVue manufacturers increase production.
The 2021 Ideas Challenge recognizes innovative public policy that positively impacts local communities and the NewDEAL leaders who championed them.
Drug coverage affordability really does exist in the individual Medicare marketplace!
Understand the differences between group Medicare and individual Medicare plans and which plans are best for retirees.
For a while, concerns about credit card fees and legacy processing infrastructure might have slowed government’s embrace of digital payment options.
How expanded financial assistance, a streamlined application process and creative legislation can help Black and brown-owned businesses revive communities hit hardest by the pandemic.
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.