Despite pending legal action from Marin County trying to block the project, the Department of Corrections went forward to begin reviewing nine bids they received from contractors for Phase 1 of a $356 million death row complex at San Quentin. The complex will house 1,152 condemned inmates in 768 cells, and part of the controversy over the project and the bond funding it has to do with prison overcrowding and whether or not it's legal to house two death row inmates in a single cell.

The bids ranged from $126 million to $145 million for the first half of the project that involves demolition, site grading, utilities, housing units and towers. This all happens as anti-death-penalty candidate for Attorney General Kamala Harris waits to find out whether she will get the state's top legal job. With some two million ballots left to count, and she and opponent Steve Cooley still neck-and-neck, it could be December before this is settled.

Also of note in pricey prison news this week: They just broke ground on a $900 million prison medical facility southeast of Stockton.