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

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

pop-up-jail
(Reuters)
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.
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