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How Has Bail Evolved Throughout History?

Bail is not an escape from justice. It’s a temporary pre-trial release during which the defendant is expected to prepare for their court hearing. Bail, as we know it today, is an amount set by the court that the defendant has to pay for temporary release.

20% of the total incarcerated population in the US is still dealing with pre-trial detention. This percentage amounts to half a million prisoners who never got a chance to be released on bail, simply because they couldn’t afford to post bail. Bail bonds are an affordable option in cases like these.

Let’s see how the concept of the bail bond came into existence:

The Anglo-Saxon era

The term ‘bail’ came about back in the Anglo-Saxon period to help citizens settle disputes. There were three main parties involved in the process: the accused, the victim, and the surety.

The surety would promise to pay the amount to the victim if the defendant decided to flee. Back then, bail wasn’t used as a way to be released from jail.

It was just the defendant’s way of assuring that the victim would be paid if need be. This concept of bail originated in the United Kingdom and later spread to the rest of the world.

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The American Way

Things changed when America formally passed the Judiciary Act of 1789. This law stated that any law that didn’t impose a death sentence was bailable. Over the next few decades, defendants looked for family and friends who would agree to act as sureties.

Then came the Bail Reform Act of 1984. This law permitted the release of defendants on a pre-trial basis by paying the least possible amount.

Bail bonds—a thriving business

Much credit for bail in its current form goes to a pair of brothers hailing from San Francisco. Back in the year 1898, these two brothers overheard a conversation between two individuals loaning money to pay for their father’s bail.

This gave Peter and Thomas McDonough the idea to open up the first-ever bail bond underwriting service at the Hall of Justice of their neighborhood. After their venture took off, many other similar businesses came into being. Fast forward to 2017, the bail bond industry in the US has generated hefty revenues of $2 billion.

In the year 2019, it’s a lot easier and affordable to post your bail using a bail bond. If you’re based anywhere in Indiana, let DeLaughter Bail Bonds help you. Learn more about our services online.

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