Last year, Freakonomics Radio made a show explaining how the bail bonding system works. The US is one of two countries in the entire world that relies on the bail bonding (i.e. bounty hunters) system to ensure that Defendants appear in Court. Surprisingly, it is 97% effective, more than two times that of the police.
The broadcast includes the economic benefits of such a system, but also a unique insight into the methods used by bail enforcers:
The bottom line is we look for the fugitive and the Judas. Everybody has a Judas in their life. An ex-girlfriend might betray him because he ran off with someone else, a rival crack dealer will betray him because he wants that guy out of the system because he’s competition. There’s always someone that will betray you for love, out of caring.