Is there a way to set the "usage" permissions for release versions in JIRA? That is, there are some release versions which should only be possible to set / tag issues with by e.g. project managers.
You can set who can set versions on a specific project by adding or removing the "Resolved Issues" permission from a project role in your permission scheme.
You can't (by default) set which of that project's versions can be set by which users.
It might be possible to script using an app such as ScriptRunner - but I've not come across this use case nor a solution for it, so I wouldn't be able to point you in a direction to customise your instance for this I'm afraid!
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