The criminal justice system of St. Johns County has not always been a tourist attraction. When Henry Flagler came to town, the Castillo de San Marcos imprisoned Native Americans. (During the American Revolution when Florida was a British Colony, the Castillo incarcerated several signers of the Declaration of Independence.) Mr. Flagler built the Romanesque Revival jail on San Marco that looked so good, tourists mistook it for one of his hotels. Today that Old Jail is a Trolley stop and with a gift shop. Even the once-courthouse (a.k.a. the ‘Casa Monica Hotel’) now hosts visitors eager to stay overnight, instead of the accused hoping not to become guests of the State.
Though Florida jails have picked up many standard amenities since Flagler’s day (like air conditioning, running water, ventilation, and electric lights), jail time is no holiday. If you are accused of a crime and facing jail time, exercise your right to legal counsel to ensure your rights are properly asserted. Do not accept maximum lodging in that kind of gated community; instead, use your right to a defense attorney who can work with prosecutors towards a correct resolution.