‘Mexico’s Alcatraz’ prison to be turned into a cultural centre

Mexico is to close one of the world’s last remaining prison islands and turn it into a cultural centre named for a communist writer once held there.

The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, signed a declaration at his Monday morning press conference closing the federal prison on the Islas Marías, 60 miles off Mexico’s Pacific coast, saying he wanted to promote “more schools and fewer prisons”.

He said of the prison island: “It’s a history of punishments, of torture, of repression over more than a century.”

Of the 600 prisoners on the island 200 will be released, while the rest will be relocated to prisons on the Mexican mainland.