15 States That Spend the Most on Policing and Corrections

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The year 2020 will be remembered for several pivotal events, including the urgent calls for reduced police spending after controversial occurrences of excessive force by law enforcement officers throughout the country. State and local jurisdictions pay for police and corrections as a part of their annual budget, so understanding how these funds are allocated can provide a clearer look into each state’s spending. While the state average for law enforcement expenditures is 5.3%, some states spend slightly more than that, while a few spend considerably more.

MoneyGeek studied policing and corrections spending by state to determine which 15 states spend the most on policing and corrections. The study divided each state’s budget by the number of people living there to develop a per capita spending figure. To determine spending by percentage, MoneyGeek examined how much is spent on policing and corrections in state and local budgets and compared these figures to the states’ total expenditures. Based on the collected metrics, MoneyGeek assigned each state an overall score out of 100.

State spending can reveal a lot about a community’s priorities, best practices and problems. This ranking can help you determine where to live or better understand how your state allocates funds. While Nevada spends the most on policing, it was also among the 10 most tax-friendly states in the U.S. The Silver State spent 7.8% of its budget on law enforcement, according to MoneyGeek’s study. Another tax-friendly state, Florida, spent 7.3% of its budgets on corrections and policing. As you study your state’s spending, you can determine how you’d like funds to be allocated.



15. Wisconsin

police vehicle in Kenosha, Wisconsin

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 48.4
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $588
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 5.38%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $3.4 Billion


14. Illinois

Police in Chicago, Illinois

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 55.7
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $656
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 5.47%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $8.4 Billion


13. Idaho

A law enforcement officer in Meridian, Idaho

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 56
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $503
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 6.24%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $882 Million


12. Rhode Island

Police headquarters in Woonsocket, Rhode Island

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 57.2
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $679
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 5.44%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $717 Million


11. New York

Brooklyn Detention Complex, New York

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 59.8
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $871
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 4.64%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $17 Billion


10. Virginia

Police vehicle in Alexandria, Virginia

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 62.6
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $616
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 6.06%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $5.2 Billion


9. New Mexico

a law enforcement officer is on a horse during the Alburquerque, New Mexico Balloon Festival

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 62.7
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $687
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 5.71%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $1.4 Billion


8. Delaware

A police memorial in Delaware

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 68.6
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $733
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 5.83%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $709 Million


7. Arizona

The front entrance to the Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff's office

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 70.6
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $574
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 6.73%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $4.1 Billion


6. California

The front entrance to the Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff's office

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 83
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $898
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 5.84%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $35.5 Billion


5. Maryland

Police respond to an incident in Baltimore, Maryland

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 83.2
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $768
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 6.49%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $4.6 Billion


4. Florida

Police meet up with peaceful protesters in Miami, Florida

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 86.6
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $644
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 7.30%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $13.7 Billion


3. District of Columbia

A Capitol Police car is shown in Washington, D.C.

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 92.8
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $1,254
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 4.64%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $881 Million


2. Alaska

Police cars at a facility in Alaska

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 96.4
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $1,178
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 5.23%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $868 Million


1. Nevada

A Las Vegas Metro police car patrols the Las Vegas strip

  • MoneyGeek Policing and Corrections Score: 100
  • Policing and Corrections per Capita Spending: $707
  • Policing and Corrections as Percentage of Total Spending: 7.76%
  • Policing and Corrections Expenditures: $2.1 Billion


About the Author

Ingrid Cruz is a freelance journalist based in Mississippi who writes for MoneyGeek. She enjoys poring over data that can help millennials make better financial choices.