Funding American Law Enforcement: The Facts

by Richard M. Salsman
The American Institute for Economic Research

Police, courts, and prisons comprise the bulk of public law enforcement services in America; most of them are provided and funded at state and municipal levels of government. Do these services deserve less support, more support, or different types of support?

Fans of free markets debate how much government should be involved with law enforcement, some saying it should be provided solely by government, others that it should be a mix of public and private services, and still others that it be provided only privately. I endorse legitimate public law (and legitimate law enforcement by public officials) while recognizing that the right of self-defense is only partially delegated to a state, never surrendered, which leaves wide scope for private security and arbitration services.

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