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CA Lawmakers to begin prion expansion debate

Expect a heated debate this week as California lawmakers begin their examination of the Governor's proposal to expand the state prison system. From Sacramento Jenny O'Mara has more.

Among the Governor's proposals that have been introduced as bills is one that would authorize bonds to pay for two new prisons. Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno is Chairman of a Special Committee that's been called to study both the policy and money aspects of the plan. He says the committee should also examine the costs of longer sentences and rehabilitation efforts.

The committee's Republican co-chair, Assemblywoman Sharon Runner says that's beyond the scope of the session and they need to stick to overcrowding issues and re-entry programs for inmates.

Runner: Because we don't want them to come back in, because we're paying for 70-percent of them to come back in again so I think the big issue is space and it can't be connected to any kind of penalty changes in the law.

Governor Schwarzenegger called a special session of the legislature in June to deal with the issue of prison overcrowding and the high number of parolees who end up back behind bars.

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