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Senate approves prison reform bill

The California Senate has approved a package of bills aimed at easing overcrowding in the state's prisons. But as Marianne Russ reports, it's a scaled-down version of what Governor Schwarzenegger had been asking for.

The Governor proposed a $6 billion building plan, which included two new prisons. What lawmakers passed was a plan just under $1 billion that will add more than 5,000 beds at existing state prisons, as well as permission to move 4,500 female inmates to community correctional facilities. Democratic Senator Mike Machado acknowledges it's not a final solution.

Machado: "This is going to be a long-term process, and it's going to take incremental steps to get there, but this is a start."

But Democratic Senator Sheila Kuehl argues it doesn't address the need for rehabilitation programs.

Kuehl: "This is just a way of saying we don't know what to do about it. We're just going to throw more and more people in jail, so we need more beds. I understand that, but that is not the answer."

Supporters of the package argue in order to ramp up rehabilitation programs, prisons first need the space.

The Assembly is expected to take up the measures today, which is the last day of the legislative session.

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