Share links: cost and costs. This article was written by Timeshifter.

See also: Drug war charts and maps. And: cannabis arrests. And: Drug war causes high U.S. incarceration rate. And: People in prisons and jails in the USA for drug-related crime. And: Number of marijuana prisoners in the USA.

Mass incarceration could be costing the United States over $1 trillion a year. [221]. Sam Stecklow. 17 Sept 2016. Fusion.

From the study abstract: "This study draws on a burgeoning area of scholarship to assign monetary values to twenty-two different costs, which yield an aggregate burden of one trillion dollars. This approaches 6% of gross domestic product and dwarfs the amount spent on corrections. For every dollar in corrections costs, incarceration generates an additional ten dollars in social costs."

“We have an under-incarceration problem.” Republican Senator Cotton. May 19, 2016. Trillions of dollars. See: U.S. Drug War. Republicans lead. And: Life for pot.
Trenton 2017 June. New Jersey. The plant is winning

"After a 40 year trillion dollar war against a plant, The Plant Is Winning". Trenton, New Jersey.

America's mass incarceration

Trillions of dollars.

Just Say No. Nancy and Ronald Reagan 2

Some drug-war cost estimates

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The majority of people incarcerated in prisons and jails in the USA are in due to drug-related offenses, crimes to get money for drugs, or drug-related parole or probation violations. Wikipedia: Drug-related crime. The number of inmates in the USA has increased almost 5 times over since 1980. It peaked in 2008. Obama's Democrat landslide in 2008 turned the incarceration rate around. But the USA still has the highest incarceration rate of any nation (b c). The cost of the U.S. drug war is at least 1.5 trillion dollars. Cannabis is safer! Share link.

Cost of criminal justice system

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State prisons averaged $31,286 per inmate in 2010. It ranged from $14,603 in Kentucky to $60,076 in New York.

Federal prisons averaged $30,619 per inmate in 2014.

See info and charts from Wikipedia: Incarceration in the United States. And: United States incarceration rate. And: War on Drugs.

"Spending on law-enforcement by states and local governments hit $212 billion in 2011, including judicial, police and corrections costs, according to the most recent estimates provided to the U.S. Census Bureau." - From Wall Street Journal article: As Arrest Records Rise, Americans Find Consequences Can Last a Lifetime. Aug. 18, 2014.

U.S. criminal justice cost timeline, inflation-adjusted expenditures in 2007 constant dollars

Inflation-adjusted in 2007 constant dollars. U.S. incarceration rate peaked in 2008.

See this timeline graph to the right. Criminal justice system cost $228 billion total in 2007. $50 billion for judicial and legal costs. Plus $104 billion for police. Plus $74 billion for corrections.

In 2007, around $74 billion was spent on corrections alone according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics: Justice Expenditures and Employment, FY 1982-2007 - Statistical Tables. See PDF and table 2: "Total justice expenditures, by justice function, FY 1982–2007 (real dollars)". Table 2 is copied below.

Table 2. Total justice expenditures, by justice function,
fiscal year 1982–2007 (real dollars).
Real dollars (inflation adjusted to 2007 constant dollars).
Expenditures (in millions)
Year Total Judicial and
legal services
1982 84,129 18,132 44,625 21,371
1987 114,484 24,356 55,903 34,226
1992 154,912 34,576 68,216 52,120
1997 189,463 41,383 84,198 63,884
2002 227,672 51,052 100,685 75,933
2007 227,563 49,721 103,643 74,198

New York City pays $167,731 per year per prisoner

More charts

US incarceration timeline

Total incarceration, and incarceration rate, peaked in 2008. Obama became President on January 20, 2009.

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Click the infographics to enlarge them.

Cost of U.S. drug war. Even $1.5 trillion dollars is conservative since many crimes are committed in order to get money for drugs. State prisons averaged $31,268 per inmate in 2010. See: Drug war causes high U.S. incarceration rate. See: Economics - Drug War Facts. See: 32 Reasons Why We Need To End The War On Drugs - Business Insider. See: The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition.
Cost of U.S. drug war

A Chart That Says the War on Drugs Isn't Working. By Serena Dai. The Atlantic Wire. 12 Oct 2012. "The numbers on this chart alone don't add up to $1.5 trillion, which represents a more inclusive count of drug control spending, with prison costs and state level costs determined by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, but instead to $800 billion." See: Cost of U.S. drug war. Share link.

Cost of drug war

USA. Direct expenditure by criminal justice function

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Drug war costs versus education costs

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Jimmie Carter: Call Off the Global Drug War. June 16, 2011. New York Times. Article quote (emphasis added):

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state’s budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education. Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help to bring about a reform of America’s drug policies.