U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Justice Expenditures and Employment in the United States, 2017

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2021

This report presents estimates of government expenditures and employment for police protection, all judicial and legal functions (including prosecution, courts, and public defense), and corrections. It includes statistics on federal, state, and local government expenditures and employment, including types of expenditures, numbers of full-time employees, and payroll spending. It is part of the BJS Justice Expenditure and Employment Extract (JEEE) series.

  • In 2017, county and municipal governments spent nearly $100 billion on police protection and nearly $30 billion on corrections.
  • Real (inflation-adjusted) justice system expenditures increased 62% from $188 billion in 1997 to $305 billion in 2017.
  • State governments made nearly $50 billion in direct expenditures for corrections activities, 88% of which were for correctional institutions.
  • Numbers of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in state and local justice systems grew 16% from 1997 to 2007, then fell 1% from 2007 to 2017.

Date Published: July 7, 2021