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Publication Local Government Corrections Expenditures, FY 2005-2011

Tracey Kyckelhahn, Ph.D.

December 5, 2013    NCJ 243527

Presents data on local government corrections expenditures from fiscal years 2005 to 2011. This report examines trends in local government spending to build and operate correctional institutions and spending for other corrections functions such as probation. It compares trends in local government spending on corrections with trends in local spending on police protection, judicial-legal services, public welfare, education, health and hospitals, and highways. It also compares state and local expenditures on correctional institutions. Data are from the Census Bureau's State and Local Government Finance Survey, which collects information on state and local expenditures and revenues.


  • In fiscal year 2011, local governments spent $26.4 billion on corrections. Between 2005 and 2011, the annual expenditures by local governments varied between $25.8 billion and $28.4 billion.
  • Corrections expenditures represented 1.6% of total local government expenditures between 2005 and 2011.
  • Education was the largest component of local government expenditures, varying between 36.0% and 38.4% from 2005 to 2011.
  • Local governments spent more than 80% of total corrections expenditures on correctional institutions, such as jails, between 2005 and 2011.
  • Between 2005 and 2011, local governments annually spent over a third (34.4% to 37.0%) of all funds spent by state and local governments on correctional institutions.

Part of the Justice Expenditure and Employment Series

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