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MC_SAN QUENTIN_GALLERY.19.JPGGov. Jerry Brown pulled the plug today on plans to construct a new housing facility for condemned inmates at San Quentin.

Brown said in a statement that he believes it would "be unconscionable to earmark $356 million for a new and improved death row while making severe cuts to education and programs that serve the most vulnerable among us."

That bill would add an estimated $28.5 million general fund costs in annual debt service payments, his office said.

"At a time when children, the disabled and seniors face painful cuts to essential programs, the State of California cannot justify a massive expenditure of public dollars for the worst criminals in our state," said Brown. "California will have to find another way to address the housing needs of condemned inmates."

The project, which has been in the works since 2003, was designed to house 1,152 inmates. There are currently fewer than 700 inmates on California's death row, according to Brown's office.

PHOTO CREDIT: Doors lead to the old gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison, Sept. 21, 2010. Manny Crisostomo, Sacramento Bee.


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