The Scottish Government has today confirmed that the earliest a replacement for HMP Inverness will be operational by will be the end of 2023.
This extended delay became clear when the Scottish Government published the Infrastructure Investment Plan Progress Report for April 2020.
The report states: “Notification in December 2018 from Scottish Government on capital funding availability indicated that no funding would be available until at least April 2021. On this basis, and assuming construction work is able to start on site in April 2021, construction would not likely be completed until towards the end of 2023.”
In the previous update, published in September 2019, the expectation was that HMP Highland would be operational from March 2023 onwards.
Highlands and Islands MSP, Edward Mountain, who is campaigning for a new prison for the Highlands, made the following comment:
“Whilst I expected the impact of the pandemic to hinder the progress of infrastructure projects in the Highlands, this announcement shows a total lack of commitment by the Scottish Government to build a new prison. Furthermore the Scottish Government has given no guarantees that funding will be forthcoming before the election in 2021.
This shows the Scottish Government’s election promise for a new Highland prison has gone to the bottom of their list of projects. I suppose that there is chance that this might change again before the next election!
The current prison continues to be overcrowded and is unfit for purpose. I will continue to press for a modern prison that the Highlands so desperately needs and deserves.”