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The findings of the Bureau of Justice are always interesting. They point to various trends and can even enlighten us to where law enforcement and the legal field as a whole is headed. The data is closely monitored and compiled by the government agency and then reported to the public upon its conclusion. One can easily glean information regarding the number of new prisoners for any state, how many cases were tried with a jury present and how many defendants opted for a plea bargain and the reports can provide an accurate glimpse at how taxpayer dollars are being spent on housing those convicted and sentenced to state and federal prisons. A. Harrison Barnes, attorney and LawCrossing.com founder says many in the legal field follow these statistics closely and for good reason; it’s one of the more accurate documents that provide detailed information as well as national averages for everything related to this particular sector.

Here are just a few of the latest findings, courtesy of the Bureau of Justice:

  • Local governments are spending more with each passing year on what’s referred to as “criminal justice direct expenditures” than state or federal agencies. Further, that gap continues to widen.
  • In FY 2006, there was an overall 5.1% increase of expenditures for police protection, judicial and legal activities. The national total was near $214 billion. This, says A. Harrison Barnes, is one reason more are choosing the legal profession as their chosen careers. Law schools watch these statistics closely, as do various district attorney’s offices and legal firms.
  • Legal services cost state, local and federal governments $46 billion in 2006 while $68 billion was spent on and within corrections.
  • The cost of legal services is growing in record numbers. There was $178 billion spent on “justice expenditures” in 2006. This record breaking number is again, indicative of the growing need of those who choose law as their careers.
  • More than half of all legal authorities, including law enforcement officers, attorneys and prosecutors are employed on the local level.
  • Between 1997 and 2006, justice employment on all levels, including local, state and federal levels, remained “relatively stable”, even as every other number and dollar figure grew. This, says the LawCrossing.com founder is alarming, considering the rapid growth of all the other figures.
  • Police protection accounts for the vast majority of all employees in all areas of the law. This includes jailers, police officers and those who police courthouses throughout the country.

These are just a few of the figures that tell the tale of the American justice system. Always revealing, they are an accurate portrait, painted by the law makers and law breakers in our society. These statistics are available for public viewing on the Bureau of Justice Statistics Employment and Expenditure page.

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