Bail and Bond
After someone is arrested, he can be released from jail on his own recognizance for some minor offenses. Bail or bond money isn't required as a condition of release. When a person has been arrested for certain misdemeanor and all felony offenses, however, he remains jailed until his trial date or until bail money can be posted. Courts determine bail amounts based on factors such as flight risk, criminal history and the severity of offense. If full bail can't be posted, a percentage can be paid to a bondsman and the inmate will be eligible for release.
Processing for Release
After the inmate's bail or bond has been posted, he's required to return all everything given to him to use while he was incarcerated, such as uniforms, shoes and bedding. The clothing he was arrested in is returned to him, as well as any other personal property he had on him at the time of his arrest, such as money or a driver's license.
An inmate usually must review and sign various documents relative to his case before he can be released. This paperwork usually involves agreeing to appear at trial dates, consenting to the terms of bail or bond and confirming that all personal items held by the jail were returned to him. In cases where the inmate served a full sentence, less paperwork is typically required. The inmate is then escorted to a waiting area to meet with whomever has come to pick him up.
Parole vs. Release
Some inmates qualify for parole if they have successfully met and have agreed to abide by certain guidelines. They must usually have served at least half their sentences, exhibiting good behavior the entire time. Parole is normally an option available to nonviolent offenders. Parolees might be subject to certain restrictions such as house arrest or probation. Violations can result in being sent back to prison to serve the remainder of their sentences.