It will be big enough to hold 2,000 prisoners, making it substantially bigger than the 1600 capacity HMP Oakwood built by Balfour Beatty and Kier near Wolverhampton last year.
“My priority is to provide enough prison places for those sent there by the courts – and to do so in a way that gives taxpayers the best possible value for money,” justice secretary Chris Grayling said.
“This will be the first prison in north Wales and a massive boost to the Welsh economy. It will provide around 1,000 much-needed jobs, great opportunities for local businesses and millions of pounds worth of construction opportunities. It will also allow offenders from the region to be held closer to their homes, which we know helps prevent reoffending.”
He added: “Across the country I am reducing the cost of prison by replacing old, inefficient buildings with newer accommodation that is cheaper to run. This new prison allows us to continue this work while providing a significant and rapid investment in the Welsh economy.”
A decision on the exact location will be made in due course. Work is expected to start on site in summer 2014 with the prison fully operational by late 2017.
The Ministry of Justice will continue to explore the feasibility of further new prison sites.