Governments at various levels spend a lot of money on our justice system – primarily on our correctional and drug-law-enforcement efforts. The sad thing is that, while spending on these two parts of the justice system has skyrocketed over the last three decades, the spending to support the rest of the justice system has been relatively anemic. This, combined with the upsurge in arrests and prosecutions from the war on drugs, has resulted in an increase in the workload of judges and public defenders and prosecutors, which has in turn contributed to the breakdown in the service of justice throughout the country – overburdened systems leads to unjust outcomes, whatever the moral character of the people within the system.
Cutting funding for local law enforcement and courts is almost invariably stupid, costing much more money in the long run. The record is clear: more cops actively patrolling on foot out in the community means less crime, less harm to victims, fewer very expensive prisoners to house, feed, and care for, and fewer families disrupted. Similarly, having fully-staffed courthouses, with enough judges, clerks, and lawyers to move cases through the system as efficiently as possible, means fewer delays in business, fewer costs to defendants and plaintiffs, and fewer lost man-hours spent in court.