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Since You Asked

I am a loyal reader of the Emergency Services report, which lists all the daily felony arrests in Jackson County. I've noticed there have been several arrests for methamphetamine possession, manufacture and distribution. However, some of the suspects are lodged in jail with a bail amount, while others are released on their own recognizances. Are these people awaiting some sort of trial? Are all of these people just recycled back into the community? How is this going to help the war on drugs? This is scary.

— Bruce R., Medford

Here's the deal, Bruce. There has never been a jail built that can magically expand to fit all the criminals police take off the streets every day. Police departments are forced to deal with the space they have.

"The fact is, the Jackson County Jail runs at capacity most of the time," Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said. "We can't lodge everyone who commits a crime."

Budreau said officers use discretion when choosing which suspects they lodge in jail for methamphetamine crimes and which ones they cite and release.

Suspects who live in the county and have ties to the community, such as jobs and family, often are given a citation.

The citation is reviewed by the Jackson County District Attorney's Office, which will then mail the offender a letter providing them with a time and date to appear in court. This is the case in all felony cases in which a citation is issued.

Others with no ties to the community are considered a flight risk and are often lodged in jail to make sure they appear in court. It is much easier for an already overworked district attorney's office to deal with a lodged suspect than to generate a warrant for a fugitive's arrest.

Methamphetamine crimes are always felonies, no matter whether a gram or a trace is found. Suspects busted for these crimes are given a $5,000 bail for each charge. For instance, someone charged with possession, manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine often faces a $15,000 bail.

The suspect has to come up with only 10 percent of the total bail to be set free, though.