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back to article Inmate-frying microwave pain blaster turret installed in US jail

A microwave "pain ray" energy weapon, deemed too controversial for US military use in Iraq, has nonetheless gone into service. A trial installation is in use at a prison in Los Angeles for the purpose of quelling fights among the inmates. "We hope that this type of technology will either cause an inmate to stop an assault or …

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Joke

Protection..

I can see the prison price of baking foil going through the roof. Tin foil hats for all :)

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Silver badge

Bad Idea.

Metal and microwaves do not mix, especially on the body. Why else would they tell you not to throw metal in a nuker? They tend to absorb and channel electromagnetic energy (of which microwaves are a part), which cause the signature arcing that are usually a sign your oven is taking a serious hit. I imagine a person wearing a foil hat (be it tin or aluminum) would start to get a serious headache once that think cranks up.

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FAIL

Name?

"In its current incarnation the device is known as the Assault Intervention Device..."

I bet many prisons officers just can't wait to get AIDs

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Coat

Hmmm

I'm sure the inmates will be initially delighted to discover that the guards will be getting AIDs...

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Joke

From the Tin-foil Hat crowd

They'll be all, "I told you so..." You watch.

I suggest a tri-corner hat. That way it can be whipped-off ones' head and used as a trigonal reflector.

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Grenade

what next?

those explosive collars from that movie - y'know the one with the guy from highlander in it.

Anon cos I can see the black helicopter hovering....

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Silver badge

I believe the film you are thinking of

is called 'Fortress'

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Big Brother

I was thinking...

....wedlock.

Wiki link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedlock_(film)

But this is more of an anti-escape device.

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Coat

I think it was the "intestinator"...

...rather than explosive collars; a device implanted in the stomach to cause pain.

I'll get my coat....

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Headmaster

Explosive Collars

You're most likley referring to the movie The Running Man with the Govenator.

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Badgers

Coneheads?

.......but it might have been more to do with Mexican Border Control!

Badgers, cos we don' need no steenkin' badgers!

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Anonymous Coward

Surprised no one's chirped up with...

Battle Royale yet....

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Anonymous Coward

Heh

Well fortunately noone would ever misuse a device that can cause intense pain with out leaving permanent marks. Would they....

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Unhappy

Simple solution

More TVs. It's a fact that 72% of all fights are over who gets to control the remote. Tempers can understandably flare when its MTV's Real World versus Oprah.

OK, so I made that up. But seriously?? I'm thinking a prison that offers a milder - but constant - disincentive to live there might be more effective than brief and intense bursts of punishment.

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Maybe not

"a prison that offers a milder - but constant - disincentive to live there might be more effective"

Or it might put you in a more permanent state of being pissed off with just about everything, and more likely to start fights with anyone within close enough range.

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Terminator

I imagine-

that this will look like a dalek device, with scary looking disks along the barrel, perhaps a glowing helix or a small parabolic reflector somewhere on it. Plus silvery globes in different sizes in scary SF clusters.

Or I will be quite disappointed...

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Anonymous Coward

not too surprising

considering that the general public in the US can quite legally buy, and use, ammunition that it would be considered a war crime to fire at an enemy soldier.

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Sir

We find the defendant guilty as charged.

Sentence is 10 years maximum security prison, and a dose of cancer.....really?

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Grenade

Re: not too surprising

Ah, that old chestnut.

You'll be talking about exposed core or "dumdum" rounds, designed to flatten on impact. Banned for military use, totally legal for civil use. Also used by preference by the majority of the world's police forces and with good reason. When shooting at a miscreant in a civil environment it is extremely undesirable that the round fired passes through the target and on to hit anything else behind it! Best practice here is to have whatever it is give up most, if not all, its kinetic energy when it runs into the first thing encountered along its trajectory.

Meanwhile, the world's military have moved en masse to usiing deformable nose or "tumbling" bullets which, while still legal for military use, are far nastier as regards what they do to the poor bastard on the receiving end.

Horses for courses once you take the "ooo iz war crimez yes?" tabloid language out of it.

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WTF?

erm

What has expanding bullets got to do with anything?

Yes, they are used in hunting in ALL counties I can think of including the UK and by most police forces. If you're going to shoot something you want to kill it as quickly and cleanly as possible, that means using expanding ammo that increases hydraulic shock, and localised tissue damage, minimises pass-thru and ricochets and basically gets the job done.

Now what has that got to do with microwaving US prisoners?

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No.

"You'll be talking about exposed core or "dumdum" rounds"

You're talking about hollow-point rounds, I think. I haven't heard anyone use the term "dumdum" rounds in a long time. They have a divot in the center of the bullet, nose-first, along with cuts down the sides to adjust how they expand.

"Meanwhile, the world's military have moved en masse to usiing deformable nose or "tumbling" bullets"

No, most of the militaries out there use either regular FMJ (full metal jacket) rounds or steel-core rounds. "Deformable" noses would be soft-point bullets, which are mostly used by hunters. Steel core rounds are for extra stability to the round as well as imparting a mild armor-piercing effect (although true AP rounds have hardened steel penetrator cores and a steel jacket).

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Flame

Shoot to kill, always?

"When shooting at a miscreant in a civil environment it is extremely undesirable that the round fired passes through the target and on to hit anything else behind it!"

And by happy coincidence the bullet blows inside innocent bystander and literally blows him dead. Because we always shoot to kill, right? If you weren't meant to be dead, too bad for you.

More bullets hit the innocent people than go throught the intended targets but who cares, eh?

Obviously police force doesn't. Nor the writer.

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Well, yes, shoot to kill

because you should never ever point a gun at someone you are not intending to kill. "Shoot-to-wound" isn't a wise policy, it leads to misses and possible hits on bystanders. Conversely, a police officer should not draw a gun in the first place unless he has made the decision to kill. After drawing he might not end up having to kill, which is great, but that gun should stay in it's holster until he has decided.

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Instantly-blinding weapon

Why nobody mentions that? If you direct a milimeter wavelength beam at eyes, cornea and lens are going to be heated up very quickly (especially given lack of blood supply that could cool the latter down), and will darken just as in cataract.

Have a look here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7897988

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Boffin

just you wait

for the prison break

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awesome caption

YOW! indeed

poached inmates all round then?

reminds me of superman 3 with that wonderful homebuild PC's security system :)

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Title.

A society should not be judged on how it treats its outstanding citizens but by how it treats its criminals.....Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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@ AC 11:54

What, like shotgun shells?

The question with this tech should be how it's use is audited, given many US prisons are run by private companies.

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You sure it's not "Yum!"

They're just saying "Yow" because they are enjoying the fresh microwave popcorn.

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Stream'n'Scream

Stick a web cam on this, allow remote control over the Internet and you can get rid of all your prison guards in one go - just hand over monitoring and control of the prisons to the public. I for one would be willing to commit some of my time and bandwidth to this. Sure beats my USB foam missile launcher thing. Heck, bring this to the Wii and it's a great way to get the kids involved in justice.

And before any lefty-liberal starts crying about over the potential misuse of the system, you could have voluntary moderators who award points based on whether a blast of the ray was legitimate or over-judicious. Besides, Wikipedia etc has shown that despite the abusers, the Internet is pretty good at governing itself.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Stream'n'Scream

Good grief. You sure do sound enthusiastic about it, bub.

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Big Brother

@NightFox

Since when did showing humanity towards our fellow man and an opposition to the wholesale torture of defenceless, imprisoned people become "lefty-liberal"?

Big Brother because Orwell could have used this guy.

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Anonymous Coward

@Marcus...

...I think he forgot the joke icon....I hope.

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Shirley

Surely the act of wanting to mointor prisoners and to use this device is automatic grounds to bar them from this.

I would not want to be a colleague of someone who looked forward to spying on and hurting, at no risk to himself, someone who was trapped. Sort of like torturing rats in a maze. Rats aren't very nice, but legislation protects even them from wanton cruelty.

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Anonymous Coward

@NightFox

"And before any lefty-liberal starts crying about over the potential misuse of the system"

You don't have to be a liberal to see 'potential' issues.

"voluntary moderators who award points based on whether a blast of the ray was legitimate or over-judicious"

No, I can't see any potential problems there either!

"Besides, Wikipedia etc has shown that despite the abusers, the Internet is pretty good at governing itself."

What? Now you really are showing yourself to be stupid.

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Complete tangent here

but rats are actually pretty cuddly, friendly and playful. Wild rats aren't so much, but then neither are wild dogs or wild cats. And rats in a maze generally aren't being tortured. So, um, simile fail all around.

I do agree completely though that actually wanting to use these devices should automatically bar one from ever using them.

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Big Brother

How long before it's installed in cells?

Seems that if this works a governor could easily add this to certain cells to deal with 'difficult' prisoners.

The U.S becomes more like some of the films it produces every week.

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Where do I sign up

to the US prison service? I'd have sooo much fun with that! Muawahahahahaha!

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Go

Sounds cruel and unusual to me

Enjoy the lawsuits.

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Joke

Great idea.

I always thought we should have a Running Man-type prison system. Or Speedball, played with inmates - the survivors get to go free. Sell the TV rights to Sky, and the proceeds go to improving the prison system. Could be interesting :-)

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And then came the lawsuits

Can't anyone at that prison see where this is going?

(1) Fire radiation device at inmates, without any long-term studies of the effects of such radiation.

(2) 15-20 years down the road, several inmates develop cancer.

(3) Inmates file class-action lawsuit against prison, alleging ray-gun-caused cancer.

(4) Idiot jurors award multi-billion dollar settlement against prison. Prison goes bankrupt. Prisoners become rich.

Why can no one in charge see this?

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Anonymous Coward

Cancer - ok?

"(4) Idiot jurors award multi-billion dollar settlement against prison. Prison goes bankrupt. Prisoners become rich."

Idiot jurors? Being given cancer is now ok is it, just because you are a prisoner?

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Bronze badge

Um

Most prisons in the US are run by the government . Prisons run by corporations in the US are not as common as some posters here think.

Oh to the people that think this device is barbaric you need to look at the alternative of not using this device . In places like the yard this is how it works when a fight breaks out . When the guard sees a fight he sounds an alarm. Any one still standing when the alarm goes off gets shot . In confined areas they send in a team. Any one still standing when the alarm goes off gets hit with a night stick.

Cell extractions. This when a prisoner refuses to come out of the cell. There are two options .

Option one the use of force. You have a cell extraction time rush in and use night sticks to get to comply , at this point he is dragged out and cuffed . Option two. You toss pepper spray in the cell. When the prisoner can't take it any more and comes out , the prisoner will be slammed to the ground and then cuffed .

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Bronze badge

And since all of these methods seem to be effective?

Why do you need to add another?

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Big Brother

Title!

one thing your forgetting. When the guards shoot they are aiming for the ones still standing so those are the only ones who get hit unless the guards aim is way off.

These ray guns are AREA EFFECT weapons, they will hit everyone, including those who are not involved and complying with the drop directive.

Its not like a laser pointer, it is a spot light.

Whats more barbaric;

shoot those who disobey an order with full knowledge of what will happen if they don't.

or

subject uninvolved people to such extreme pain that if they were enemy soldiers it would be considered torture?

Once this is accepted as "OK" to use against criminals it will be used against group involved in an "illegal activity", like having a public demonstration without a permit.

I give it a year or so before its rolled out to a demonstration or concert for crowd control.

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Flame

"device" is a weapon, not a device.

"Oh to the people that think this device is barbaric you need to look at the alternative of not using this device "

Yes. Obviously you haven't.

Being shot is nothing compared to being cooked alive, eyes first. You try it and tell then which is more barbaric. I see this even worse than tazer, which is polices favorite toy nowdays: "see how they squirm funnily!" If the victim dies, it's an "accident" and no-one is prosecuted. Happens every other day in US alone.

Tazer leaves marks, this one doesn't so the reason to use it is even less than for tazer which is widely used for fun already, by the police.

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Anonymous Coward

One thing no one seems to have asked about this...

Is what happens if you don't move out of the way or more to the point, can't move out of the way.

It is like sitting in an oven as described? Would you cook?

Not so non-lethal now eh?

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Prison

"in use at a prison in Los Angeles"

Gotta be San Quentin, then. That place is full of some really insane criminals. Just ask Danny Trejo.

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@David Eddleman

San Quentin's in San Rafael (OK, it's technically it's own town, just East of Larkspur Landing, to be pedantic), on the lovely San Francisco Bay. Los Angeles is about 400 miles away to the South, by road.

Besides, the real wack-jobs are housed at Pelican Bay, Corcoran & Atwater (at least here in California). San Quentin's main claim to fame is that it houses California's "Death Row", at least for male inmates.

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Can't be.

San Quentin is closer to San Francisco. And Folsom's closer to Oakland. Pelican Bay is up near the Oregon line. The most likely candidate is State Prison, LA County.

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