University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review

Document Type



Approximately two-thirds of the national jail population consists of pretrial detainees––people who are constitutionally presumed innocent of the charges they are facing. Many, if not most, of these individuals are incarcerated because they are unable to post money bail. This article explores some of the complexities of pretrial release/detention reform. It begins with the history of bail from its early use in England through its grounding in each American state’s constitution, with special emphasis upon the reforms that have occurred in the American system of pretrial release since the 1920s. Drawing on information and experiences from states across the nation, coupled with a review of current Arkansas law, I offer several proposals for future reform efforts from a judicial perspective and conclude that it is indeed time for Arkansas to consider pretrial reform.