Court Programs

Drug Court

Drug Court is a positive, innovative, and cost-effective approach to dealing with individuals who have a substance abuse addiction that are involved with the court system. This program targets the addict, not the pusher. The program is an outpatient, three-phase approach to substance abuse treatment which lasts approximately one year in length. It targets adult and juvenile offenders and adults involved in dependency issues. Drug Courts are different from traditional courts because they operate by a team approach, focusing on providing social services, closely monitoring the progress of each defendant in treatment, and administering graduated sanctions as an alternative to additional criminal charges. The Drug Court team consists of: judge, assistant state attorney, assistant public defender, probation officers, protective services investigator, treatment liaison, drug court manager, and law enforcement. The team focuses on defendants’ problem behaviors in need of change and makes available to them every opportunity to modify these behaviors and become noncriminal members of society.

Bay County: Amanda Tarr (850) 873-7095

Teen Court

Teen Court is a diversion program for first time misdemeanor offenders (ages 8-17), which allows offenders to participate in a court conducted by his or her peers instead of going through the customary juvenile court. The youthful offender admits his or her guilt and is sanctioned by a jury of his or her peers. Juveniles have 30-90 days to comply with sanctions. If they do so successfully, the youth will not have a criminal record. If the defendant fails any part of Teen Court, their case is automatically returned to Juvenile Court. Teen Court provides immediate and meaningful consequences.

Bay County Teen Court:

Suzanne Cox, Teen Court Director
P.O. Box 1206 Panama City, Florida 32402
Bay County - (850) 747-5191 Fax - (850) 747-5443

Kara Gibbs, Teen Court Assistant Director
P.O. Box 1206 Panama City, Florida 32402
Bay County - (850) 747-5191 Fax - (850) 747-5443

Bay County Pretrial Release Program

Check-In Line: (850) 914-7877
Office: (850) 747-5183
Fax: (850) 747-5193


Hours M-F 8:00AM - 12:00PM, 1:00PM - 4:30PM

Located on the second floor of the courthouse.  Sign in on computer to be seen.

The Bay County Pretrial Release Program is an intervention program designed to maximize the supervised release of defendants prior to trial, thus, reducing jail costs. One of its primary functions is to provide the judiciary with critical information (e.g., criminal history background, employment, residence, ties to the community) on defendants for release/bond determination. Moreover, the program provides supervision of defendants conditionally released prior to trial and those defendants found incompetent to proceed to trial that can be released from incarceration with supervision. By serving these two functions, the program allows appropriately screened defendants to remain within the community, while under the Program’s strict supervision requirements, and saves local tax payer dollars on the daily cost for jail bed space.

The program, which began December 1990, was a success with the judiciary and the county from the very beginning. The number of clients grew rapidly as the credibility with the judiciary was established in a short period of time. While the Program estimated that it would routinely supervise 75 defendants, that number has increased to its current day caseload of 375 individuals who are supervised on the program. A monetary savings resulting from saved jail bed space was also realized by the County. At the end of the first full year of operation, $359,000 in jail bed cost avoidance was enjoyed by the county. Last year, almost $5 million was avoided in jail bed expenses directly attributed to the Bay County Pretrial Release Program.


Bay County Work Program

Office: (850) 747-5181

Hours M-F 8:00AM - 12:00PM, 1:00PM - 4:30PM

Located on the second floor of the courthouse.  Sign in on computer to be seen.

The Bay County Work Program was established in 1988 as a means to ease the overcrowding in the county jail. Individuals who might otherwise be incarcerated were instead sentenced to perform work hours for the benefit of the County. Over the years the program has been expanded to include individuals who are financially unable to pay court costs and/or fines, including civil fines.

The individuals performing hours through this program provide a valuable service to the County and its municipalities by cleaning trash and debris from the parks, recreational areas, beaches, and road rights-of-way; maintaining landscaped areas and cemeteries; and assisting in the maintenance of the County’s ballparks and the H.G. Harders Sports Complex. The program further serves the County in that by permitting individuals to perform work hours in lieu of incarceration, the County saves on jail expenses.

The individuals themselves benefit from this program in that they are permitted to remain productive members of society and to maintain employment and support their families, which they would be unable to do if serving jail sentences.