Crime is essentially as old as human civilization itself. Since people began to enact laws in an effort to guide themselves and their society, it can be safe to say that defiant ones already existed as early as that time; not to mention, the process of enforcing justice and securing freedom. However, much about the early history of the bail process is still shrouded in mystery. As City Limits’ Curtis Stephen notes:
While the concept of bail is rooted in ancient times, its precise origin remains unknown. In the King James Version of the Bible, verses throughout the Old Testament rail against sureties or the assumption of a stranger’s debt, which is central to the American bail system. Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verses 26 and 27 caution: “Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties of debts. If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?”
Before numerous Bedford, TX bail bonds companies went into business, bail and bail law originated as far back as Ancient Rome, which then continued into the Byzantine Empire and the medieval ages. By the latter period, bail law became more prominent.
17th Century England is known as one of the frontrunners for numerous bail systems around the world, specifically the American bail system. In 1677, the English parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act, which established that the top magistrates are the ones to set bail terms. In medieval England, law enforcement officers known as sheriffs possessed sovereign authority to release or hold suspected criminals. However, some of these sheriffs would exploit the bail for their own gain, prompting the government to limit the discretion of sheriffs with respect to bail.
Fast forward into 1689, the English Bill of Rights declared restrictions against “excessive bail,” and ultimately served as inspiration for the Virginia State constitution and the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment is directly connected to the sixth, which states that all people must be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them, and also allows an individual to demand bail if he/she is accused of a bailable offense.
Since then, American bail law has evolved to what most people know and recognize today. It even gave rise to an entire industry, the domain of Bedford bail bonds companies like Just Bail Bonds.
(Source: Lengthy Trial: A Brief History of Bail, City Limits)