Blackout? Or are you referring to lock down?
A lockdown in prison basically means that you are confined to a cell for 24 hours a day. There is no outside recreation, church, library, school, or work for most individuals. The only people that work during a lock down are what are called critical workers for jobs that are considered essential to running the prison. Some examples are kitchen workers, infirmary workers, some "orderly" positions that clean (sweep, mop, showers) the housing units. Lock downs can occur for a variety of reasons. For example if an inmate violently assaults another inmate they might initiate a lockdown. Usually isolated incidents don’t end up in lock downs as long as the inmates involved are identified and placed in the SHU.
A riot with multiple people involved always results in a lockdown. If an incident happens but only one ethnicity is involved, then usually only that one race or ethnicity will be on lockdown. Other reasons for a lockdown can range from an assault on a staff member, an outbreak of some virus or bacteria (measles or chicken pox), to an institutional lockdown because an inmate on death row is going to be executed. Length and severity of lockdown may vary. We know of months-long lockdown where anytime you came out of your cell you had to be handcuffed. Meals were delivered to the cell and no crucial workers were allowed to work at all.
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