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Pew Pew! 'Assault Intervention' Laser Burns Your Brawling Inmates Into Submission

the assault intervention device
Burning-laser tag, anyone? At the Pitchess Detention Center on Friday, guards from the Castaic complex of the Los Angeles County Jail demonstrated their very own Assault Intervention Device, a 7.5-foot-tall laser weapon that produces burning pain at whomever it's directed. The beam emitted by the device can reach up to 100 feet, and is about as big around as a CD. Prison officials hope that the laser, which will be mounted on the ceiling of the complex, will help to deter inmate fisticuffs by subduing aggressors with burning torment.

"I equate it to opening an oven door and feeling that blast of hot air, except instead of being all over me, it's more focused," sheriff's Commander Bob Osborne told the Daily News. (You can take a gander at the deputies getting blasted by the laser -- and laughing? -- in a video after the break.) Developed by Raytheon (and very similar to the company's "pain ray," made for the U.S. Army to control malcontents in Afghanistan), the laser penetrates the skin by as much as 1/64th of an inch, causing a special kind of hell that stops, obviously, when you move out of its path. And, although Raytheon says that no one can stand the laser's pain for more than three seconds, it all begs the question: what happens if someone can't move within those three seconds (because, say, they've been beaten to a bloody pulp)?

The device, which is controlled with a joystick, will loom over the heads of about 65 inmates at the Castaic unit, in a six-month test run by the National Institute of Justice for use in the nation's jails. While we're sure that most of the jail's inmates deserve to be there, and for perhaps a lot longer (257 inmate brawls were recorded in the first half of the year at Pitchess), are we regressing to a time when using the incarcerated as guinea pigs went unquestioned?

Tags: AssaultInterventionDevice, castaic, CrowdControl, HumanRights, inmates, jail, laser, LosAngelesCountyJail, pain, PainRay, prison, raytheon, weapons