The new prison for the Malaga area was officially opened on Monday, five years after construction finished.
The building, known as Malaga II, is near Archidona, in inland Malaga province, and is designed to relieve some of the pressure on the existing Alhaurín de la Torre jail near Malaga city.
Attending the opening was the national minister for Security, José Antonio Nieto, who explained that the first prisoners would start being transferred from other jails over the next two weeks. He added that the facility has 1,008 cells for over 2,000 inmates.
The prison has been marred by controversy ever since it was built and dignitaries on Monday were met by loud protests from prison-worker unions who were criticising the delays in putting it into service.
After construction the building was kept empty as the government didn't have the budget during the financial crisis to fund its operation, but still had ongoing maintenance costs as it had to have round-the- clock security and floodlighting.
Recently it was used as a temporary detention centre for illegal immigrants, causing outrage from charities and welfare groups. Protests by inmates during this period resulted in 160,000 euros in damage inside.