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SALEM, Ore. -- The Oregon Senate has given final legislative approval to a plan intended to cap the number of offenders housed in state prisons.

The bill passed the Senate 19-11 on Monday. It now goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber who intends to sign it.

The plan to loosen certain criminal sentencing laws is expected to hold the state's prison population at 14,600 over the next five years, and save the state $326 million in corrections cost over the next decade.

The policy changes will avert the need to build a new state prison.

Supporters say the state should invest in programs that reduce recidivism and keep people out of prison. Opponents say lawmakers shouldn't change sentencing laws approved by Oregon voters.

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