The origins of the American bail system are uncertain. There are theories on how it came about. One is that it originated in the Anglo Saxon tribes of old England. These tribes used to take hostages and then release them when the promise of a certain person was fulfilled or a certain consequence achieved. There is historical evidence that the person who provided the funds or services for the hostage could have been made to suffer the punishment of the prisoner if the prisoner himself had escaped.
In the modern bail situation the person putting up the bail is not seized, yet many say the modern Bondsman is nothing more than an extension of this old security relationship. Both the old hostage and the modern bondsman assume a responsibility for another. One pledged his body, the other pledges his material wealth. In today’s bail system, money has replaced people.
Others suggest that modern bail comes from the old English laws governing debt. They held that the one who was accused of committing a wrong, had to guarantee a payment to reimburse that wrong if he were found guilty later.