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£209 million new prison in Inverness moves a step closer

By Alasdair Fraser

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An artist's impression of the new HMP Highland prison to be built in Inverness
An artist's impression of the new HMP Highland prison to be built in Inverness

The building of a new £209 million prison for the Highlands that will increase custody capacity and attract significant investment has moved a step closer.

A major construction contract has now been signed for the project in Inverness which is scheduled for completion in 2026.

HMP Highland will accommodate 200 prisoners, which is over 100 more than the capacity of the city’s old Porterfield Prison.

The construction contract signed with Balfour Beatty will create more than £60 million worth of supply chain investment with local businesses and new jobs during the build and operation phases of the new prison.

It will be Scotland’s first net-zero carbon prison, with improved education and health facilities to help with rehabilitation and allow more adult men from the Highlands and Islands to be accommodated in their local area, improving access for families and services.

The Scottish Government’s justice secretary Angela Constance said: “Signing this contract marks a significant milestone for the Highlands, which will not only provide much needed additional capacity and continue the modernisation of Scotland’s prison estate but will also provide investment and jobs to the area.

“HMP Highland will deliver safe and secure accommodation with better education and health facilities to help with rehabilitation and reduce offending.

“It also means more prisoners will be accommodated locally, improving family connections and access to courts and legal representatives.

“As with all large-scale national construction projects, Brexit, high-inflation and supply chain issues have had an impact on the initial estimated costs, which we have been working hard with the prison service and suppliers to keep to a minimum.”

Linda Pollock, deputy chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service, said: “With the support of the Scottish Government, we are committed to investing in our estate to create better environments for people to live and work.

“HMP Highland will not only increase the capacity previously available at HMP Inverness, but also provide space for quality rehabilitative work which we know gives people the greatest possible chance of a successful return to their communities on liberation.

“This project has so far seen the creation of new jobs and apprenticeships for the local area, with more to come in future.”

HMP Highland is being built at Eastfield Way, Inverness and once complete will replace HMP Inverness, one of the smallest and oldest prisons in Scotland.

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