Law \ Legal

Cities, States Divert $101B in COVID Funds to Jails and Police

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Billions of dollars of the the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has flowed to the criminal justice system by the first quarter of 2022, from covering payroll to purchasing new equipment and, so far, governments have allocated $101 billion of the total $350 billion intended for COVID-19 recovery for that purpose, reports The Marshall Project. Nearly half of the $52.6 billion allocated for “Revenue Replacement” went to projects that mentioned police, law enforcement, courts, jails and prisons.

Local police agencies have used ARPA funds on law enforcement equipment and capital expenses — from tasers and rifles to cars and shooting ranges. Five municipalities used funding to purchase armored vehicles, at least 38 governments across the country used ARPA funds for police tasers, and nine spent ARPA funds on police drones. At least 36 jails and prisons across the country acquired full body scanners with ARPA money.

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