The Scottish government has scrapped plans to build a new £75m women’s prison just weeks before the scheme was due to be put out to tender.
A pre-qualification questionnaire was issued by the Scottish Prison Service last November for the proposed facility in Inverclyde, with “a number of responses” received.
An invitation to tender had been due to go out next month before Scotland’s justice secretary Michael Matheson took the decision to abandon the project.
Mr Matheson said the planned prison “does not fit with my vision of how a modern and progressive country should be addressing female offending”.
The prison had been due to replace Scotland’s existing women’s prison in Cornton Vale, Stirling.
Instead, the government will consult on new plans to replace the single prison with smaller regional facilities.
According to the Scottish Prison Service, there are only 412 women in prison in Scotland, with just over half of these in Cornton Vale.
The only contract handed out so far for the abandoned project has been for the demolition of the old scheme, which was won by Carillion and has been “running for about a year” according to a spokesperson for the prison service.