MONTREAL -- More than 1,000 inmates at Montreal’s Bordeaux prison were locked in their cells for more that 24 hours while staff conducted a search within the institution in recent days.

A spokesperson for Quebec’s public security ministry told CTV News 1,021 inmates in the Montreal Detention Facility were kept in their cells while staff conducted a search. She did not specify what they were looking for.

The confinement began on Friday, Oct. 15 at 1:15 p.m., and continued into the following day at 2:30 p.m.

On Saturday afternoon, most inmates were allowed out of their cells for alternating periods of time, while another, smaller group returned to their normal confinement schedule.

LACK OF STAFF

CTV first learned of the situation after receiving an anonymous tip from someone with knowledge of the institution.

They said that, while inmates were confined to their cells, they were not able to shower, nor were they allowed regular access to phones.

They also said that all or most of the lights had been turned off, and that a lack of staff had fostered a more violent atmosphere within the institution.

Public security spokesperson Marie-Josée Montminy did not confirm or deny those claims, writing in a statement that it’s “impossible for us to respond to each of the allegations considering that we do not know the identity of the person who made them.”

“However, it is true that … several prisoners had to stay in their cells longer than expected due to a lack of staff available to carry out all of the activities,” she wrote.