In certain cases, there are situations that may occur in penitentiaries where extra security measures will have to be taken. This can happen when inmates get involved in fights with rival prison gangs, incite a riot, or someone gets murdered within the prison facility. When security is breached in such a situation, many prisons will incite what is known as a prison lockdown. A prison lockdown is a period in which the prisoners will be confined to certain areas and restricted certain kinds of activities or liberties.
Most commonly, a prison lockdown means that the inmates must remain within their cells for either an entire day or until a particularly violent situation is resolved. Prison lockdown may sometimes only apply to certain wings or blocks of a penitentiary, though when a full prison lockdown is ordered, the entire facility is affected. A normal lockdown can usually occur for only a certain amount of time, which can be lifted in a matter of hours.
However, a full prison lockdown can last for an undetermined amount of time, and prisoners will be restrained strictly to their cells. This may mean that meals may be suspended during this time, and free time privileges and use of the court yard will be suspended. A full prison lockdown, aside from protecting the prisoners from themselves and ensuring security, is also meant to provide for safety for members of the entire prison staff. In most cases, when a full prison lockdown is in order, non-correctional staff such as educators or supplementary staff will usually be evacuated.