The system of receiving money or property in exchange for temporary release from jail dates back to the 13th century in England. Bond practices came about to balance the access among the rich, middle, and poor classes when accused of a crime.
In years past, only the rich were able to secure release pending trial by trading money or property. The English Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster in 1275, specifying which crimes people would be allowed bail for, which crimes were not allowed. Businessmen soon realized with enough capital or collateral, security could be offered to any defendant for a fee, acting as insurance.
The business of posting bail bonds for individuals who qualify provides a valuable service that grew over time. Bondsman in the United States have been around since the states were founded, although laws around bonds have changed and been refined over the years. The first major legislation regarding bail bond in the US was the Bail Reform Act of 1966. Individual state laws now govern common practices to address issues of fairness, competition, and standards relating to levels of crime.