RIOT is a better-than-average exploitation picture with a script by Academy Award winner Poe that lifts it out of the "ordinary" status. If the warden and the 600 convicts seem authentic, that's because in real life they lived at the Arizona State Prison--although this story was based on
incidents that took place at a jail in Minnesota, as detailed in ex-con Elli's book. The warden, Eyman, is on vacation when Brown has a disagreement with a guard and is tossed into the isolation block. Hackman is already there, planning a jailbreak, and Brown becomes involved, albeit reluctantly.
The prisoners take a few guards as hostages and are now in control of a small section ...