Inverness's planned new prison could cost £52m
Building a new prison for Inverness would cost about £52m, the Scottish government has told an MSP.
Labour's David Stewart asked the government when a site for a replacement for Porterfield would be sought and costs of its construction.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill replied to his parliamentary question.
Mr MacAskill said the government planned to identify a site during 2012-15. Mr Stewart has urged quick action because of overcrowding at Porterfield.
The jail, which is close to the city centre, was built in 1902.
In 2008, it was described as one of the most overcrowded in Scotland.
Last year, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) was told it could not build a new prison on land earmarked for a new academic and research campus in Inverness.
The SPS had been in discussion with landowner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) about constructing HMP Highland at Beechwood.
HIE said the plan was given serious consideration but it did not have "a strong strategic fit" with its vision.
It offered to help the SPS find another site.