Canberra's adult jail may get a medically supervised injecting room, after it was chosen as the preferred model for a prison needle and syringe program (PNSP).
A working group believes a supervised injecting room was the "most viable model" for the environment at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury said on Friday.
The working group's decision comes after a year of consideration and signals a PNSP may now finally be a step closer.
The working party was established after the government deferred controversial plans for a PNSP in Canberra jail in April 2015 due to protracted opposition by prison staff.
Mr Rattenbury said the working group would consult with staff and stakeholders in coming weeks to nut out the detail of the model, before being put to staff for a vote.
"Our primary focus in developing a needle and syringe program is to reduce the spread of serious blood-borne viruses among detainees," he said.
"Direct distribution by nurses or doctors through an injecting room model could allow for personal contact with prisoners and the opportunity for health professionals to provide qualified medical advice to detainees."
Community and Public Sector Union ACT regional secretary Vince McDevitt said it would work with its members to ensure they had all the information required to make an informed decision.
"The CPSU has engaged constructively in this process through the [working group]," he said.
He said it was not yet known how staff would vote on the decision.
"We can't predict what the outcome of the ballot will be," he said.
"All stakeholders have agreed on one thing, that any scheme will not succeed unless it is supported by officers on the ground.
"It's easy to push for change when you're not working within the walls of the prison. Getting this right is absolutely critical for our members safety and wellbeing."
The progress towards a needle and syringe program at AMC was welcomed by the Public Health Association of Australia, with chief executive Michael Moore saying the ACT had shown leadership in prioritising health in prisons.
"When we talk about prisoners, we're talking about a punishment that's deprivation of liberty. They are still entitled to the same healthcare as other people," he said.
"The spread of infectious disease not only affects prisoners but their families. Many prisoners will be released and may be at risk of passing an infection onto someone else."
Mr Moore said the program would prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C.
"Australia was one of very early countries to establish legal needle and syringe programs and because of that ... we're amongst the countries with the lowest spread of HIV in the world. We've learnt that lesson, we should be applying it in our prisons," he said.
Mr Moore called on other states and territories to introduce programs to prevent the spread of blood-borne infections.