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Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
SUNDAY, MAY 2, 2004 Contact: Stu Smith 202/307-0784
  After hours: 301-983-9354

Since 1982, Justice Expenditures Average 8 Percent Growth Annually

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Local, state and federal governments spent a record $167 billion on direct expenditures for police protection, judicial and legal services and corrections activities, during 2001, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. That year, per capita justice expenditures were $586—about $254 per person for police protection, just over $130 per person for judicial and legal services and approximately $200 per person for correctional services both in the community and in confinement facilities.

Since 1982, justice expenditures have averaged 8 percent growth annually—about 11 percent annual growth at the federal level, 9 percent at the state level and about 7 percent at the local level. Justice spending per capita in 2001 was about double the spending in 1982. During this period state and local police agency arrests grew from 12 million in 1982 to about 13.7 million in 2001, according to FBI estimates.

Almost half of the expenditures were funded by local governments, while the states spent an additional 35 percent and the federal government accounted for the remaining 15 percent. Criminal and civil justice activities comprised about 7 percent of all state and local government spending. In comparison, 30 percent of state and local government spending went to education, 14 percent to public welfare, 7 percent to health and hospitals and more than 4 percent to interest on government debt.

As of March 2001, the nation's federal, state, and local justice system employed almost 2.3 million persons—about 1.1 million working in law enforcement, just under a half million in the courts, prosecution and public defense services, and nearly three-quarters of a million in corrections. The March 2001 payroll at all levels of government totaled $8.1 billion.

About 60 percent of all justice personnel worked at the local level, nearly two-thirds of whom were employed by law enforcement agencies. Local police and sheriff's department employees accounted for 80 percent of all law enforcement personnel nationwide. One-third of justice system employees worked for state governments, 64 percent of whom were in corrections. Nine percent of all justice employees nationwide worked for the federal government, with more than half in police service.

Overall, there were about 81 justice system employees per 10,000 population in 2001. Per capita justice employment among state and local governments was about 70 per 10,000 population in 2001. Among the states, the per capita number of justice system employees was lowest in West Virginia, with 42 full-time equivalent justice employees per 10,000 population while New York State had the highest with about 94 per 10,000 population.

On average, there were about 23 sworn state and local law enforcement officers per 10,000 population (an additional 8 employees per 10,000 population were civilian, non-sworn personnel). Among the states, Vermont had the fewest state and local sworn police officers per capita (15 per 10,000) and New York had the most (39 per 10,000).

In 2001, there were about 14 employees per 10,000 residents working in the courts, prosecution and legal defense services at the state and local levels. Maine, with 7.3 judicial employees per 10,000 population, was the lowest while New Jersey was the highest, with about 25 employees working in the courts per 10,000 residents.

State and local correctional agencies and institutions employed about 25 personnel per 10,000 population. West Virginia had the lowest number of corrections personnel per capita (9.1 per 10,000) while Texas and New York had the highest number (32.7 per 10,000).

The report, "Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 2001" (NCJ-202792), was written by BJS statistician Lynn Bauer and U.S. Census Bureau analyst Steven D. Owens. Following publication this document can be accessed at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1018

For additional information about Bureau of Justice Statistics reports and programs, please visit the BJS Web site at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist crime victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education, and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed program. Information about OJP programs, publications, and conferences is available on the OJP Web site, www.ojp.usdoj.gov.


Date Published: May 2, 2004