Based on 1999 figures, the United States will spend more than $147 billion on the criminal justice system this year. That's a more than 145% jump since 1982 in inflation adjusted dollars.
From 1977 to 1999, total state and local government spending on police protection rose 411% and 946% for corrections. During the same period, spending on education increased 370%.
In fact, nearly 8 cents of every dollar spent by state and local governments in 1999 was for justice-related activities.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 1999