Economics of Drug Policy and the Drug War

31. Growth in US Criminal Justice Spending 1982-2003

"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%"

Hughes, Kristen A., "Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 2003" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2006), NCJ212260, p. 2.

32. State and Local Criminal Justice Expenditure

"• Overall, local police spending represented 45% of the Nation's total justice expenditure, and State corrections accounted for the second largest portion, 33%.
"• Police protection is primarily a local responsibility; accordingly, local governments spent 69% of the total police protection expenditure in the country in 2003.
"• Corrections is primarily a State responsibility; as such State governments accounted for 64% of the Nation's corrections expenditure.
"• Judicial and legal services in the United States were funded primarily by local (43%) and State (38%) governments."

Hughes, Kristen A., "Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 2003" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2006), NCJ212260, p. 4.

33. Economics - Data - 2008 - 4-11-10

(Costs of Juvenile Justice System) "Approximately 93,000 young people are held in juvenile justice facilities across the United States.1 Seventy percent of these youth are held in state-funded, post adjudication, residential facilities, at an average cost of $240.99 per day per youth.2"

Justice Policy Institute, "The Costs of Confinement: Why Good Juvenile Justice Policies Make Good Fiscal Sense," (Washington, DC: May 2009), p. 1.

34. Money Laundering and Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations

"Mexico is a major drug producing and transit country. Proceeds from the illicit drug trade leaving the United States are the principal source of funds laundered through the Mexican financial system. Other significant sources of illegal proceeds being laundered include corruption, kidnapping, extortion, piracy, human trafficking, and trafficking in firearms. Sophisticated and well-organized drug trafficking organizations based in Mexico take advantage of the extensive U.S.-Mexico border, the large flow of legitimate remittances, Mexico’s proximity to Central American countries, and the high volume of legal commerce to conceal transfers to Mexico. The smuggling of bulk shipments of U.S. currency into Mexico and the repatriation of the funds into the United States via couriers or armored vehicles, trade, and wire transfers remain favored methods for laundering drug proceeds. Though the combination of a sophisticated financial sector and a large cash-based informal sector complicates the problem, the 2010 implementation of U.S. dollar deposit restrictions reduced the amount of bulk cash repatriation back to the United States via the formal financial sector by approximately 70 percent, or $10 billion. According to U.S. authorities, drug trafficking organizations send between $19 and $29 billion annually to Mexico from the United States, though the Government of Mexico disputes this figure. Since 2002, Mexico has seized a total of more than $500 million in bulk currency shipments."

"International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, March 2014), pp. 161-162.

35. Estimated Savings from Legalizing Drugs in the US

"The report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $48.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. $33.1 billion of this savings would accrue to state and local governments, while $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government. Approximately $13.7 billion of the savings would results from legalization of marijuana, $22.3 billion from legalization of cocaine and heroin, and $12.8 from legalization of other drugs."

Miron, Jeffey A., PhD, "The Budgetary Implications of Drug Prohibition," (February, 2010), p. 1.