The term release refers to act of releasing a prisoner from a court order. The concept is formed with the affix former- and the noun jail.

It should be noted that the prefix former- it has several uses. In this case we are interested in its meaning as “beyond” or “out of”. The idea of jail, meanwhile, can refer to site where prisoners are held or to the penalty that consists of deprivation of liberty.

As can be seen from analysis of its components, the word release is linked to be out of jail. Specifically, for someone to be released, they must first have been imprisoned (that is, put in jail).

Break free

Releasing means getting someone out of jail by court decision.

Who decides to release

He who is authorized to release an inmate is a judicial authority with competence to make that decision. However, release from prison is contemplated as a possibility in certain specific cases: that is, a judge cannot release someone when they want, but only when they are released. legislation enables said alternative.

It is the law the one that defines when a prisoner can be released. The rules vary depending on the country and the region, so no general condition can be established that opens the door to release.

Differences with the exemption from prison

Sometimes release from prison is confused with exemption from prison, but in reality these are two processes that are different. As we said above, for it to be possible to release someone, their incarceration must first have been completed.

On the other hand, exemption from prison can occur if the individual has not yet been incarcerated. There are different reasons that can lead a judge, at a request from the accused or a third party, to exempt him from the deprivation of the Liberty while the criminal case progresses.


A judge can release a defendant as long as the legislation contemplates this possibility based on different specific criteria.

Arguments that may lead to the release of a defendant

It is important to bear in mind that release is a benefit that is granted to whoever is prosecuted. In general, the judge decides to release when he considers that the subject in question does not constitute a danger to the society if he is still at liberty while the judicial process is taking place.

Release may also be decided if the accused has already served the maximum sentence stipulated by the Penal Code, either in detention or in preventive detention, or if he has already served the sentence that was imposed by means of a judgment which is not yet firm.

It should be noted that, in many cases, release arises from the presumption of innocence. A constitutional principle establishes that all person they are presumed innocent until proven guilty; by extension, it is not possible to convict in advance.

A technical term for firefighters

The firefighters, in some nations, refer to releasing when they achieve release someone who was trapped due to an accident. Although the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) does not recognize this meaning, the entity considers that its use is not incorrect.

The RAEHowever, in these cases, he recommends replacing release with other verbs such as take or extract.