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Governor Halts Construction of Overbudget Death Chamber

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Aired 4/19/09

Governor Schwarzenegger has put a stop to construction on a new death chamber at San Quentin State Prison. From Sacramento, Marianne Russ reports.

Corrections officials say the project's been put on hold because it's costing more than expected. They'd originally estimated the price of a new death chamber at $399,000 -- just under the $400,000 that would have prompted a legislative review.

Now officials say the cost may run as high as $725,000. A corrections spokesman says that's due partly to roof repairs, new medical equipment, and new fire alarms. The administration says it was building the new chamber because a federal judge cited problems with the old one when he declared a moratorium on executions last year. State lawmakers have planned a hearing into the corrections department's actions next week.

Marianne Russ, KPBS News.

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