SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Acting to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today canceled plans to build new housing for condemned inmates at San Quentin.

“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. 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.”

Planning for a new condemned inmate housing facility at San Quentin was initiated in 2003, during the administration of Governor Gray Davis, and was continued by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration. The project was designed to house 1,152 inmates and provide for future growth of California’s condemned population.

California currently has fewer than 700 inmates awaiting death sentences.

This project would have added another $356 million to the state’s debt, at an annual cost of $28.5 million in debt service that would have come out of General Fund dollars.