Municipal offices in Atlixco, whose building also housed a prison. Municipal offices in Atlixco, whose building also housed a prison.

Aging Puebla prisons to become museums

The historical buildings were damaged by the September 19 earthquake

The September 19 earthquake in central Mexico was too much for three aging penitentiaries in Puebla, which will be retired from the prison system and converted to museums.

Located in the municipalities of Izúcar de Matamoros, Atlixco and Chietla, the prison buildings were constructed in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries for other purposes and later converted to hold lawbreakers.

The prison in the Magical Town of Atlixco was built in 1614 and today houses the municipal headquarters as well as the prison, which has been there since 1936.

The aging buildings were deemed unsafe due to severe damage by the quake and the 379 inmates were moved to another jail in the city of Puebla.

The municipal, state and federal governments plan to build three new facilities, which ought to be an improvement for the inmates who were housed in the older ones.

The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) reported as early as 2015 that the Atlixco facility was overcrowded. It held 312 inmates at the time (148 more than this year) but the CNDH said its capacity was 80 at most.

The earthquake will not only give prisoners better living conditions but has created an opportunity for the restoration and rehabilitation of the historic buildings themselves.

“The buildings no longer work [as penitentiaries], they’re historic . . . we’ll have to repair them and they will become museums,” said Governor Antonio Gali.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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