"In 2003 the United States spent a record $185 billion for police protection, corrections, and judicial and legal activities. Expenditures for operating the Nation's justice system increased from almost $36 billion in 1982 to over $185 billion in 2003, an increase of 418%.
"Local governments funded half of all justice system expenses. Another 33% of direct justice funding came from the States.
"Total justice expenditures comprised approximately 7.2% of all State and local public expenditures in 2003. Compared to justice expenditures, State and local governments continued to spend almost 4 times as much on education, twice as much on public welfare, and roughly an equal amount on hospitals and healthcare."


Kristen A. Hughes, "Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 2003" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2004), NCJ212260, p. 1.