Law enforcement agent expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:
It is a fact that to get along in jail or prison, you must stick with your own race. If you are in an area where there is rioting, you must participate to show respect to your race. If you have an opportunity to join in the riot and do not, you run the risk of getting a beating, or being sexually assaulted later on. In one of the large jails I was assigned to, some of the gang leaders would order a beating called, “30 seconds under the stairs.” That means you would be pummeled for 30 seconds under the stairwell in the dorms. Thirty seconds is a very long time to suffer a beating. Look at your watch for 30 seconds and think about how your face can be mashed into pulp in that time. The staff may see what is happening and come to your aid, but it will take at least that long to get back up, open the door, and run to you.