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. Dave

    To all the people saying these are safe: they emit electromagnetic radiation- microwave radiation. They don't necessarily damage the site, but they irradiate whatever is in the way. This is cruelty as its worst.

    August 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ATMoore

      No killing, raping or whatever the immates did to go prison is the cruelest thing you can do.

      August 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      What about the victims of the 'war on drugs' that don't deserve to be there at all?

      August 26, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Patriot

    Remember if your going to protest this device is meant for YOU.

    Make your signs large enough to shield yourself cover them with foil(shiny side out) and make sure to put a handle on the back so your hands are protected. Several protesters can actually reflect and concentrate this energy so care must be taken that the reflected beam is not concentrated(resulting in injury or possible death to the user of the device) on one spot or person.

    P.S. there are two forms of this device made by different manufacturers, infra red and Microwave. The microwave version can cause disruption of medical implants (such as pace makers) and should be regarded as a potentially lethal weapon. Microwaves will cause current to flow through metal objects(glasses, fillings, metal joints, surgical pins etc) This device is also in CLEAR violation of FCC regulations regarding the emission of radiation, it's very odd that they are allowed to sell it at all.

    August 24, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. layne




    August 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • layne


      August 24, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • CrashDaPlace

      Really? The government sits outside your house shooting lasers and microwave emitters at you? Your a god damn nut job...

      August 24, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey you

      Apparently you also have problems understanding what the period key "." is for.

      August 25, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |


      August 25, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Patriot

    Oh more info for those who wish to know. The microwave form of the device(Raythion's version) device operates at 95 GHz and will penetrate approx 0.04 mm. For protection I recommend Reynolds Super duty aluminum foil as cheaper thinner foil may allow some radiation to penetrate. Although NO DATA on the effects of the device on things such as makeup sunscreen, contact lenses, replacement corneas etc have been published(except the manufacturers assurances that it is safe) Oil bases substances might increase skin damage.

    August 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • layne


      August 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. homunculus

    Great. Another tool that the Machines will use to control us when they turn against us.

    August 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pro_life

    If the inmates throw rocks at the officers, they should shoot to disable. Plus, this thing may work but once the inmates realize it causes no real harm it's going to be much less effective as a deterrant. FYI, O.C. spray actually does work as a deterrant in some situations.

    August 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TaxpayerX

    As a taxpayer I think it's great if the penal system can give back! With the testing from this they'll be able to fry Osama in his cave in a year or two. Oh! And I'm with the guy who wanted to know if the end result tastes like chicken!?... would solve world hunger and prison overpopulation!

    August 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. layne



    August 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shekon

    What a waste of money and resources for Taxpayers – this is a useless POS that will case more harm and harder to use and control.

    I will recommend something 100 times cheaper and more effective in crowd control indoor situation – Indian army and police are now using it.

    Its a powder and spray made from the hottest pepper found in India/South East Asia – just one GRAM of it in your eyes, nose or mouth and it will cause burning sensation for 1 hour & immediate facial burning.

    Indian armed forces successfully use it to "interrogate" Islamic militants/terrorists – and it is shoved in their bodies from the WRONG end of the ood canal – causing massive discomfort for a month or so – disabling you to actually defecate.

    Whats worse than 1 month of constipation and rectal burning ? Waterbording ? Forget that – this is BEST way.

    For $5 I will sell you this can of spray – email me: shekon {@}

    August 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • CrashDaPlace

      LOL, You must mean PEPPER SPRAY?

      August 24, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. layne''s.being.used.on.

    August 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. layne's

    August 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Patriot

    I will be publishing the plans for a DIY version. Look for it on HACKADAY.C0M

    For use by legitimate demonstrators protecting their right to free speech and the right to assembly.

    August 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CrashDaPlace

    Your all so stupid... They arnt just picking RANDOM inmates, or TESTING IT... They are using it for RIOT CONTROL... Freaking Hippy's... I agree it is a waste of taxpayer dollars... Your in jail, if you are rioting, YOU GET SHOT... It should be that simple, no more overpopulated jails/prisons, and less of our dollars spent!!!

    August 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. speakereater

    So can we test poverty and prison out on corrupt judges, CEO's, poloticians, and law officials now?

    August 24, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. layne



    August 24, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      I love my least once a year when I receive my Tax Refund

      August 25, 2010 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
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