Criminal Justice Budget Essay
Criminal Justice Budget
Harris County, in Houston Texas, contains a pretty large population, and a large majority of that population classified as home owners. Harris county’s geographic size is considerably large, with a population estimate exceeding 3,935,855 peoples in 2007 (US Census Bureau, 2009). Furthermore, the percentage of Caucasians is around 73. 6%, with the Black population consisting of 18. 9%, Native Americans exceeding . 6%, Asian persons around 5. 5% and lastly the Hispanic population being around 38.
6% (US Census Bureau, 2009). The land area per 200 square miles is 1,728. Harris County’s current federal spending budget for the year of 2007 is around 21, 152, 659. When determining a budget for Harris County, one important aspect to consider is the county’s retail sales, which is around 39,358,036, displaying the current of industry and economic growth. The federal government spent over 19 billion dollars in 2003 on the war on drugs, at a rate of about 600 dollars per second (www.
drugsense. org). The total amount of money spent on the war on drugs at the federal level is about 4,258,600,939, while at the state level 6,536,936,825, totaling over 10,800,600,300 dollars (www. drugsense. com). The failed war on drugs has not stopped drug usage, on the contrary, it has made criminal cartels rich by illegalizing drugs, thus giving them a product to sell, and increased not only the availability and potency of drugs, but, also their rate of usage across the country.
For example, after the US has spent over 500 billion dollars to fight drugs, cocaine is now as cheap as it was when kingpin Escobar died and more heavily used, furthermore, methamphetamine, which was barley even a problem in the years following 1993, is now used by over 1. 5 million Americans and is proven to be more addictive than crack (Wells, 2007). The war on drugs has put over 500,000 people behind bars for drug crimes with no discernable effect on the drug trafficking industry, if anything; it has grown (Wells, 2007).
When preparing a budget for Harris County, the most important thing that could be done is ending the failed war on drugs, which would save tax payers an estimated 12 billion dollars or more a year. Furthermore, instead of focusing a majority of the states federal budget on building more prisons begin building more universities, and residential communities. I find it interesting to note that the annual cost to tax payers in California to keep and maintain their prisons is around 10 billion per year, if this spending trend continues; California will be spending more on prisons than on universities (Abramsky, 2007).
In ending the war on drugs, with the billions that would be saved, tax cuts, business incentives, and an overall increase in the standard of living for the community. Furthermore, instead of building prisons, states could build real, industry that produces’ real goods. References Wells, Ben (2007) How America Lost the War on Drugs Rolling Stone retrieved on March 16, 2009 from http://www. rollingstone. com/news/story/17438347/how_america_lost_the_war_on_drugs
Abramsky, Sasha (2007) Prison Crisis: Will California Spend more on jails than Universities? Rights and Liberties retrieved on March 16, 2009 from http://www. alternet. org/rights/65868/? page=entire US Census Bureau (2009) State and County quick facts The US Census Bureau on March 16, 2009 from http://quickfacts. census. gov/qfd/states/48/48201. html Unknown Author (2009) Drug War Clock Drug Sense retrieved on March 16, 2009 from http://www. drugsense. org/wodclock. htm