According to Lynn Bauer of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 2001 (May 2004), the total amount spent on corrections at the federal, state, and local levels rose from about $8.9 billion in 1982 to $57 billion in 2001, an increase of roughly 540%. During the same time period, total expenditures for police protection also increased—from $19 billion to $72.4 billion. Total judicial and legal costs rose by 385%—from $7.8 billion in 1982 to $37.8 billion in 2001. (See Table 2.1).
Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 2001 also reported that local governments paid for nearly half of all U.S. justice expenditures in 2001, including 70% of spending on police. State governments bore the largest share of corrections costs (67.8%). Table 2.2 presents justice spending by level of government and justice activity during fiscal year 2001.
Calculated on a per capita basis, in 1982 total spending on corrections cost each U.S. resident $39. By 2001 that figure had risen more than 400% to $200 per person. Adjusted for inflation, the increase was 222%. (See Table 2.1.) By comparison, the per capita cost of police protection, after inflation, rose by 109%, and judicial and legal costs rose 155%.