The French justice minister Nicole Belloubet says by the end of the year a decision will be made on whether to renovate or rebuild French Polynesia's Nuutania prison.
The visiting minister has described the jail's condition as unacceptable, saying she is keen to move the female inmates from October.
Despite opening a new prison in Tahiti, the Nuutania facilities accommodate more prisoners that the jail was built for.
The French state has been forced to pay some convicts compensation for housing them in unworthy conditions.
The jails in French Polynesia and New Caledonia have for years been decried as the worst ones operated by France.