The Big Hoose is closing … soonish.  

Scotland’s largest prison is scheduled to close and be replaced with a larger facility. For more than 100 years Barlinnie, in Glasgow, has housed some of the country’s most dangerous inmates as well as hundreds of less-high profile criminals serving out their sentences. 

 In 2018 it was announced that the notorious jail is to be shut and replaced with a new, ‘fit-for-purpose' facility which would bring incarceration in line with 21st century standards.  

So why is it closing?  

Simply put, the prison is decades out of date. Barlinnie is a Victorian Prison, commissioned in 1882 and fully in use before the dawn of the 20th century.  

Always plagued with overcrowding, the jail’s population of is usually 50 per cent over capacity, with 1400 prisoners crammed within its walls when it was designed for 987. 

READ MORE: Prisons inspector warns delay to Barlinnie rebuild would be 'travesty'

 In 2020, an inspection found it to be not fit for purpose, but by that date plans had already been put in place to shut it down. 

The Herald:

What’s the plan?  

The building is to be replaced with a 1200-capacity ‘superjail’ - HMP Glasgow. Plans were announced in 2018, but have been slow to get off the ground.  

The Scottish Government’s infrastructure plan of 2015 priced the 1200-place building at £170m with construction starting in 2018, but it took longer than expected to secure a site. 

The Scottish Prison Service finally settled on a 54-acre plot at the former Provan Gas Works a few hundred metres from the existing Barlinnie. 

In principle planning permission was granted in August 2020, but a follow-up masterplan was only submitted to Glasgow City Council in May this year. 

It envisaged a carbon-neutral building where prisoners are controlled and rehabilitated with the latest technology.  

So when will it open?  

Like most large-scale civil engineering projects in Scotland, apparently, the date for the new building has slipped several times.  

READ MORE: New Barlinnie prison costs and timings dropped by Scottish Government

Initially scheduled for this year, the opening was pushed back to 2026. This has now been moved further back to 2027.  

The budget has also changed - growing to £400 million at the last estimate. 

The Herald: Michael Stoney, the governor of HMP BarlinnieMick Stoney 

What’s been said about the decision to close Barlinnie?   

Barlinnie governor Mick Stoney said did not mix his words last month when he talked about the need for a new prison, saying: “This prison can’t last that much longer. The infrastructure fails constantly. 

“At some point it may be a catastrophic failure, by then it’s too late. We know that day is coming. 

“A lot of my time is just trying to keep the prison functional. If dates like building and completion stretch further, then the risk gets greater year on year.”