Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto promised to provide federal support to state authorities in "pushing through fundamental changes" to the national corrections system, echoing earlier remarks by his interior secretary.
That pledge came just over a week after a Feb. 11 fight between rival gangs at a prison in the northern industrial city of Monterrey left 49 dead and 12 wounded.
Peña Nieto said Friday at an event in Nuevo Leon state, whose capital is Monterrey, that in pursuing the changes needed at the nation's overcrowded and often gang-controlled penitentiaries his administration would "continue to work in coordination with the state authorities."
His remarks backed up Thursday's statement by Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio, who said the pitched battle at the Topo Chico prison was "a warning call" that underscores the need to "review the rest (of the prisons)."
"We have to effect a thorough transformation. Enormous investment is needed," Osorio told reporters after signing a letter of commitment to human rights with the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions.
The prison's director at the time, Gregoria Salazar, and three other Topo Chico officials are being prosecuted on charges of homicide and abuse of authority over the deadly brawl.