INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — FOX59 continues investigating who is paying bail in Marion County. As we’ve told you, the Bail Project admits it does not read all the publicly available details about a crime before release, nor does it keep track of those arrested on new charges.

Bail bond agents don’t either, but that’s where most similarities end between these two bail entities. The main differences come down to contracts with defendants’ loved ones, the ability to make arrests of those defendants who abscond and bail agencies are not funded by taxpayers.

“I think the real benefit of bail agents is that when we have third-party involvement,” Jeff Clayton, American Bail Coalition Executive Director, said of people signing a contract to bail a person out of jail. “That’s the best information we can get.”

The Bail Project says its team also speaks with friends, family and other third party contacts, but those people are not signing a contract to help with the bond.

Surety bonds require a non-refundable fee, usually 10%, to a bail bonds agent to get released. It is the judge who sets the bond.

“What ends up happening is then a bail bonds agent will then evaluate the case,” Clayton said. “What are the charges, what is the prior criminal history of the defendant, do I know the defendant? Really the real question is, who is the third party that is involved because usually, it’s not the defendant posting their own bail.”

Licensed bail agents enter into a contract with people vouching for the defendant. Agent Brent Smith said he often requires a commitment with multiple people including a family member.

“Once the Indemnitor meets me, we will have them fill out an application,” Smith said. “The Indemnitor is the person who is going to sign on the bond, who is going to financially be responsible and to make sure that this defendant, he or she, shows up for court.”

Bail agents say there are reasons why the person signing the contract is inclined to tell the truth.

“They’re under contract one not to misrepresent to us,” Clayton said. “If they lie to us, we can sue them. If they misrepresent what their financial situation is or characteristics of the defendant and we make a mistake, they’re liable and the courts can hold them liable. It’s a three-party contract: us, the third party and the court.”

Indiana’s bail agents must hold a license with the Department of Insurance. The IDOI is responsible for regulating bail agents and insurance companies issuing bail bonds.

This license allows agents to track people who don’t show up for court across the country.

“With bail, I want to make this very, very clear to the citizens of Indianapolis, it does not cost the taxpayer anything when a bail enforcement agent has to go pick up the defendant that failed to appear in court,” Smith said.

At the time of our interview, one of Smith’s employees was in Texas working to track down two people who fled the state. It’s the responsibility to apprehend that bail agents say sets them apart from other bail organizations.

“We post a financial guarantee saying if this guy does not show up, we either arrest them and bring them back or we have to pay,” Clayton explained. “So, it’s almost like a mortgage type of a document where we sign a contract with the court that lays out what we’re supposed to do.”

As we’ve reported, three people who the Bail Project paid to release from jail are now accused of heinous crimes, including murder and stabbing police officers. At the time, the Bail Project said it did not have data on how many of its clients re-offended while on release.

The American Bail Coalition said bail bond agencies do not track that information either.

“I don’t know what the true number is in Indiana, but if I had to take a guess, I would guess it’s lower than 20%,” Clayton said. “But, I don’t have any way to sort of back that up.”

Clayton cited a few reasons why bail agents would refuse to pay a bond, including serial offenders.

“They’re either going to violate their bond, they’re going to fail to appear, or we think they’re going to commit a heinous crime,” Clayton said. “A lot of times these happen in domestic cases where we just know it’s just not been defused. Mistakes are made and you can probably Google a bunch of mistakes that were made.”

The Bail Project is expected to provide the Marion Superior Court with information judges requested including how many of their clients picked up new cases while on released and how many referrals the organization made to wraparound services. Once judges receive the information, a meeting will be set.

Then, the court says it will decide whether to support The Bail Project moving forward.