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Lane County Pretrial Services

Lane County Pretrial Services

Lane County Circuit Court

Synopsis: Release assistance officers have judicial authority to make release decisions using a risk assessment tool that takes a number of factors into account, including danger to the community.


Problematic Behavior Or Activity

Oregon’s bail reform movement led to legislation about pretrial release that took effect in 1974. Lane County’s program began in early 1975 with the hire of one release officer. The program grew over the years as people recognized the need to help control the jail population. With the use of a risk-assessment tool, defendants who pose the lowest risk to other people are released with the least onerous conditions possible, to help ensure their appearance in court and the safety of alleged victims and the community.

Impact On The Community

Before the use of release assistance officers and the risk-assessment tool, releases due to overcrowding were determined through a system that did not consider dangerousness to the community.


Program Description

All circuit court defendants are interviewed using a risk-assessment tool. Release assistance officers have judicial authority to make release decisions regarding all crimes except murder and treason.

Based On Research

The program uses a modified risk-assessment tool developed by the state of Virginia. Release decisions are made using the tool and applying Oregon Revised Statutes.


The program is funded through the state’s General Fund, CCA, grants, and dedicated sheriff’s deputy positions.


Program Impact

Program staff are developing a process to measure outcomes.

Critical Success Factors

Collaboration among agencies is critical.

Lessons Learned

Collaborate with other agencies. Validate your risk-assessment tool. Know the population in your jail. Develop a means to measure your program’s success.