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. dmoe

    i think peper spray is safer more effective and cheaper

    August 26, 2010 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. X

    One of these days some poor soul will emerge from a dungeon where they've been kept for months or years, and tell how they've been tortured daily by a heat beam weapon. And people will look at this person and say, "Prove it."

    August 26, 2010 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    I think they should just use a flame thrower. That feels hot too.

    August 26, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. eagle

    So they are getting ready for the G20, WTO and RNC? Hope you CAN get out of the way and your a healthy young man. To bad If your an old lady, child or have some medical condition your going to cook to death like a hot dog in a microwave.

    So what if your caught by this beam and can't get out of the way?

    Will this be used as a replacement for waterboarding?

    August 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mike

    directed energy is going mainstream. No one can stand in the beam for longer than 3 seconds, Its not laser, its microwave energy , Animal rights groups would be all over this . Please write your Congressman /woman and demand the banning of all Active-Denial Weapon Systems and bann the use of RFIID Chips. Yesterday AOL had an article on placing chips in children for tracking

    August 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • anoyed

      I wonder if the microwave beam will cause sterilization. Perhaps it is the original use.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    I can see this being abused to torture inmates who are not resisting.

    August 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sid the kid

    What's wrong with bullets/

    August 26, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bailoutsos

    Since the Ninth District courts has ruled that no one has the right of privacy on their own property, I will look all their names, get GPS location and addresses for their homes and post them. All of us can show up and have a party in their driveways.

    August 26, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Leftist

    Th military name of this device is Active Denial Technology. The millimeter wave "heat beam" causes excruciating pain and can result in serious injury and even death if left on a target long enough. Those familiar with the technology never doubted that the it would eventually be used against Americans. This application, stopping prison riots, is a first step. It will eventually be used for crowd control. And because, in short bursts, the extreme pain leaves absolutely no marks, it will eventually be used as a torture device.

    August 26, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. *Dreggor Gade

    According to all sci-fi films, now that we have heat rays, all we need now are flying cars and we will officially in the future.

    August 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ok

    I'm getting images of a kid with a microscope frying ants.

    August 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. pdidy

    why dont they use it on the border, or better yet the gay parades.

    August 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Craig

    So we are now microwaving inmates....what a f'd up country we live in....

    August 26, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. A CNN Reader

    Just shoot the bastages..... end of story... more jail space...

    August 26, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jessica

    Cops and guards are so lazy these days. Look at the massive overuse of the tazer (Don't taze me Bro!). Lets just cook people for a few seconds, rather than being physically fit and using more humane tactics.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
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