August 24th, 2010
10:33 AM ET

L.A. jail tests 'intolerable heat' beam on brawling inmates

An L.A. county jail will be testing the Assault Intervention Device.

Officials at a Los Angeles County jail plan to test out an invisible heat-beam weapon originally developed by the military as a way to subdue brawling inmates by making them feel "intolerable heat."

The technology, called an Assault Intervention Device, is a non lethal-weapon developed by Raytheon Company. It originally was scaled down for use at the jail.

The device "emits a focused beam of wave energy that travels at the speed of light and produces an intolerable heating sensation that causes targeted individuals to flee. The sensation immediately ceases when the targeted individual moves away from the beam," according to Raytheon's website.

Deputies have tested the device, which is controlled by a jail officer using a joystick.

"We believe that technology can help solve problems facing the corrections community, including addressing issues of inmate violence," Sheriff Lee Baca said during a news conference. "The Assault Intervention Device appears uniquely suited to address some of the more difficult inmate violence issues without the drawbacks of tools currently available to us."

"This device will allow us to quickly intervene without having to enter the area and without incapacitating or injuring either combatant," Baca added.

Officials say they hope the device can help quell inmate assaults and reduce prison violence. Its use will be monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice and Pennsylvania State University.

The device was installed and is being tested at Pitchess Detention Center at the L.A. County jail in Castaic, California.

That jail was the site of a 200-inmate brawl this weekend in which inmates threw rocks and debris at officers, who were attempting to stop them from entering a restricted area, according to CNN affiliate KTLA.

KTLA reported the brawl lasted for an hour before tear gas and non-lethal weapons were used. CNN is awaiting comment on whether the new Assault Intervention Device was employed during the brawl.

soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. layne

    CRASHdaPLACE...
    what.you.meant.to.say.is.YOU.WANT.TO.BELIEVE.i.am.a.nutjob.
    the.Department.of.Homeland.Security.WANTS.YOU.TO.BELIEVE.i'm.a.nutjob
    EVERYONE.wants.to.believe.i'm.a.nutjob
    nobody.wants.to.admit.that.normal.americans.are.getting.tortured.already.in.their.homes.
    but.do.you.guys.REALLY.think.i'm.making.this.up??

    August 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey you

      Yes we do think you are making it up.
      You MIGHT be more credible if you stopped confusing the period key with the space bar.

      But at least you aren't typing in all caps.

      August 25, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • GOVERNMENT-MISINFORMANT

      carl.the.period.key.is.to.scramble.translation.
      foreign.perps.lose.alot.of.time.translating.a.period.riddled.sentence.into.Chinese.
      So.I.guess.I'm.sadistic.
      So.when.are.we.gonna.meet.at.BestBuy???
      That's.cool.of.you.to.buy.me.a.new.laptop.Bro...Because.I.want.to.look.'credible.to.you.and.I.know.you.can't
      handle.variance.
      I.don't.want.you.to.cry.like.a.little.girl.while.you.make.fun.of.torture.victims.online.
      Also,why.would.I.make.up.this.crap,when.I.could.be.at.the.beach.or.something?

      August 25, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Millimeter Wave

    This item uses millimeter waves. It is not a laser or like a microwave oven. This technology has been reported on in the press for years. I say good for the LASD for trying to use advanced technology to the benefit of all

    August 24, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joe cool

    your all a bunch of idiots !

    August 24, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Memery

    A note to CrashDaPlace: Good Lord, buddy, who did what to you that you're so angry and hateful? First you lay into some guy who's simply saying that first isn't always best (which is true in both journalism and a number of other instances) and then you condemn the entire state of CA. I've lived in CA all of my life and I'll tell you, the California-laid-back image hasn't been true since the days of the eight-track tape. Nowadays it's all grab-it-and-growl. In terms of incarcaration, we have a greater per-capita percentage of people in jail than any state in the country. Finally, anyone familiar with prison stats will tell you that 70 percent of the national prison population is composed of nonviolent drug offenders who would be better off getting treatment, and it would cost less to boot. Lay off the caffeine, dude.

    August 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim armstrong

      FRYEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IF YOU FIGHT IN MY JAIL, YOU BECOME BACON!!!!!! IF YOU FIGHT MY OFFICERS, YOU BECOME BACON THEN WITH A SECOND HIT, DUST!!!! IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, BE NICE. FUNNY HOW THE MORE WE CONVINCE OTHER COUNTRIES TO BE MORE HUMANE, THE LESS HUMANE WE BECOME. BUT,,,, THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, CAN'T WAIT FOR IT TO SHOW UP ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES DURING PROTESTS FOR ANY ONE OF A NUMBER OF ISSUES. AND AT THE VARIOUS ECONOMIC SUMMITS. THIS COULD MAKE THE NEWS WORTH WATCHING. MAKIN BACON TAKES ON A WHOLE NEW MEANING......

      August 25, 2010 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. bob searcy

    your driver license and plates are tagged and trackable. law-enforcement has ran amok..

    August 24, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy Anderson

      Bob,
      If you remember me from Hays please reply!

      February 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Davey Jones

    and remember, NO DISINTEGRATIONS!

    August 24, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      I prefer it that way....An honest person has nothing to fear....but the car and ID.thief does

      August 25, 2010 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • GOVERNMENT-MISINFORMANT

      actually,honest.civilians.are.probably.at.the.top.of.the.fry.list

      August 25, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. X

    Behold the perfect torture device. Inflicts intolerable pain and yet leaves no trace.

    August 25, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • GOVERNMENT-MISINFORMANT

      exactly.

      if.you.say.you.were.shot.with.a.DWE,people.either.stare.at.you.or.call.you.a.'Nutjob'

      google:
      electronic-harrassment
      and
      youtube;
      electronic-harrassment
      to-see-all-the-100s.or.1000s.of.nutjobs.who.are.complaining.about.this.stuff.

      Listen-to-the-Coast-to-Coast-special-too...
      the-guy-breaks-it-down

      August 25, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carl

    What ever happened to Tear Gas and High Pressure Fire Hoses..????

    August 25, 2010 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. Carl

    I wonder how that willl affect a person with High Blood Pressure. Or a Heart Problem...A Person who innocently just got caught up in the middle of a riot..?

    August 25, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. Terry

    It appears that they are testing a new riot control device, using a smaller scale unit in the jails. Do you believe that Pepper Spray and Tear Gas will not work in the confined space of a jail or prison. What a scam? Let's use this new gadget on prisoners, and if it works, we will order the big one for crowd control.

    August 25, 2010 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. reddragon696

    This could be a good device for stopping riots, at least until some bored guard decides to use it for target practice on inmates that have done nothing but be in their line of sight. I can definitely see where this device can be used to torture people for no other reason than the wielder has nothing else to do or is having a bad day and decides to take it out on his/her captive audience.

    August 25, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Riiight

    Do CNN webmasters allow any half-wit to comment on articles? So many of the comments here are pure retardation.

    August 25, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Gregg

      Very many here have very serious anger issues and most likely dumber than a bag of hammers...............

      August 29, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. oakydoke

    Yes... give the jail guards torture beams. This is a good idea. But aren't rawhide whips cheaper?

    August 25, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Pig

    G
    @ spellcheck
    You Sir or Ma'am, need to read before you spew your verbal diarrhea all over the place!
    August 24, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Article was updated you idiot!

    August 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. christopher F

    Wow, an "intense beam of wave energy". How about that, we're microwaving prisoners!

    August 25, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
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