In Bail Bonds

The argument in favor of a commercial bail system stems back as far as the 1600’s. In 1677 the English Parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act, among the other provisions, established that magistrates would set and create terms for bail.

The 1689 English Bill of Rights set restrictions against excessive bail. This later inspired the Virginia State Constitution and the Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution. In 1789, the Judiciary Act was passed, which not only gave outline for Federal and District Courts, but provided that all “noncapital offenses” were bailable.

Bail for capital offenses were left to the discretion of the Judiciary. Between 1789 and 1966, there was little change in United States bail law. It is between these years that the privatization of bail bonds became an option. This became relevant as a means to relieve jail populations and ensure accountability of a defendant returning to court with little to no financial burden on the State and Federal Governments.

In 1966, the United States Congress passed the Bail Reform Act, which allowed for the release of a defendant with as little financial burden as possible. The commercial bail industry had grown to encompass companies and even the requirements of financial institutions to back a commercial bail entity.

Regulations and law began to be developed by individual States to regulate commercial bail bonds professionals. Ultimately, the commercial bail bonds system held to the same standard; provide an inexpensive means of release and greater accountability with less financial burden on the public.

The 1984 Bail Reform Act was established and replaced the original 1966 Act. This new reform allowed for the release of higher risk defendants; but also established bail hearings for all defendants facing prosecution.

The commercialization of the bail industry remained largely accepted in the United States and was further regulated under Commerce and/or Insurance licensing and regulations.  (Silverman, 2007) (Devine, 1991)


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Cited Sources


Devine, F. (1991). Commercial Bail Bonding: A Comparison of Law Alternatives. ABC-CLIO

Silverman, J. (2007, Fabruary 05). How Bail Works. Retrieved from