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Jail prisoners can be released for a number of reasons

I constantly see people arrested on felony charges in your "Emergency Services" logs who are listed as having been "released on their own recognizance." Under what circumstances does that happen?

— A reader

Well, dear reader, we really use the phrase "released on (their) own recognizance" as a catch-all for releases under a couple of different circumstances. In the logs we receive from the Jackson County Jail each night, prisoners released in the last 24 hours are noted as either having been released on their own recognizance after arraignment, having posted bail or being released to prevent overcrowding.

First-time offenders charged with low-level felonies are typically released from custody after their first appearance in court, without having to post bail. Defendants charged with more serious felonies can sometimes be released after posting 10 percent of their bail amount. And, to prevent overcrowding, prisoners held in the jail on non-Measure 11 charges are also regularly evaluated for potential release based on a "risk matrix," which takes into account the severity of their crime, their local ties and their likelihood of re-offending.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.