Economics of Drug Policy and the Drug War

26. Growth in State Spending on Corrections, 1986-2001

"State spending for corrections increased from $65 per resident in 1986 to $134 in 2001 (table 1). Per capita expenditures for State prison operations alone rose from $49 in 1986 to $104 in 2001.
"At an average annual increase of 6.2% for total State correctional spending and 6.4% specifically for prisons, increases in the cost of adult incarceration outpaced those of health care (5.8%), education (4.2%), and natural resources (3.3%).
"Although correctional spending grew at a faster rate than many other State boards and programs (including court payments between 1986 and 2001, it remained one of the smaller cost items. For example, the outlay for education, at $374.5 billion, was nearly 10 times larger, and that for welfare, at $260.3 billion, was nearly 7 times larger."

Stephan, James J., "State Prison Expenditures, 2001," Bureau of Justice Statistics (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, June, 2004), NCJ202949, p. 2.

27. Cost Effectiveness of Substance Abuse Treatment

"Substance abuse treatment is more cost-effective than prison or other punitive measures. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) found that drug treatment conducted within the community is extremely beneficial in terms of cost, especially compared to prison. Every dollar spent on drug treatment in the community is estimated to return $18.52 in benefits to society."

Justice Policy Institute, "Substance Abuse Treatment and Public Safety," (Washington, DC: January 2008), p. 2.

28. Estimated Potential US Retail Hemp Market

"Retail sales of imported hemp products exceeded $70 million in the United States in 2006.62 Given hemp’s wide-ranging utility, supporters of domestic cultivation estimate that it would create a $300 million dollar industry.63"

Kolosov, Christine A., "Evaluating the Public Interest: Regulation of Industrial Hemp under the Controlled Substances Act," UCLA Law Review (Los Angeles, CA: UCLA School of Law, 2009), p. 244.

29. Cost of Marijuana Enforcement in Rhode Island

"In 2007, there were 1,922 arrests for first-time marijuana possession in Rhode Island. In 2008, there were 584 incidents of incarceration for marijuana possession.1 Ending prohibition and eliminating these arrests would save the state approximately $12.7 million in criminal justice costs."

Opendoors, "The Criminal Justice Costs of Marijuana Prohibition in Rhode Island," (Providence, RI: March 2010), p. 1.

30. Cost for Wiretaps

"The expenditures noted reflect the cost of installing intercept devices and monitoring communications for the 2,034 authorizations for which reports included cost data. The average cost of intercept devices in 2011 was $49,629, down 1 percent from the average cost in 2010. For federal wiretaps for which expenses were reported in 2011, the average cost was $71,748, a 13 percent increase from 2010. The cost of a state wiretap ranged from a low of $200 in Hudson County, New Jersey, to a high of $2,885,712 for a narcotics investigation conducted by the New York Organized Crime Task Force."

Administrative Office of the United States Courts, 2011 Wiretap Report (Washington, DC: USGPO, June 2012), p. 9.