Inmates return to Panama City jail 3 months after hurricane

January 15, 2019

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Three months after Hurricane Michael devastated a large swath of Florida’s Panhandle, inmates and staff members are finally returning to the Bay County Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility.

Warden Craig Hanks tells the News Herald he’s happy to finally see inmates stepping off the buses outside the Panama City jail. On Oct. 15, the storm shredded the prison with 963 inmates inside. It took more than two days to evacuate the inmates on buses borrowed from ICE facilities in the area.

Hanks said 197 inmates have returned from jails in surrounding counties and they plan to bring back 200 inmates a week until they reach a maximum capacity of 974 to 985.

The storm pulled off most of the roof, and left the facility without water, sewer and phone service.