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Inverness finally set for new prison

Inverness finally set for new prison

Inverness is to get a new prison at last, 112 years after the current one came into use. 

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) currently uses Porterfield Prison near the city centre, but this is both old and very crowded, being the smallest jail in Scotland. 

It has long sought to create a new prison for the Highlands, Islands and Moray region, and has now secured planning permission for a site to the east of the city centre, adjacent to Inverness Business Park. 

Construction work may start as soon as next year and when it is completed, the jail will have room for 200 inmates in a building featuring two wings. Each of these will have three storeys and, including circulation space, the complex will have 123,000 sq ft of room, nearly double the 66,000 sq ft at Porterfield. 

The £66 million jail was devised by Morgan Sindall’s design and engineering consultancy arm BakerHicks. 

A spokesperson for the SPS said: "We are delighted that planning permission in principle has been granted for HMP Highland."

Like the rest of the UK, the SPS hopes to benefit from having new, more spacious prisons where modern facilities can help with efforts to rehabilitate offenders and ensure they reintegrate back into society after release. In England and Wales, such efforts have led to well-known prisons like Reading and Shepton Mallet closing and large new ones being built, such as the super-prison at Wrexham.

Finding a site for a new jail in Inverness has not proved easy. Last year, local public concern led to the scrapping of plans to construct the new prison on farmland by the Milton of Leys estate at the southern edge of the city.

The site now in place is isolated from any residential areas, being separated from the Raigmore estate by the A9 and a railway line. The nearest buildings are those of the Inverness Retail Park and the University of Highlands and Islands campus.

Image: iStock

 

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