It's a non-lethal laser as you probably guessed, but nonetheless, the Assault Intervention Device (measuring 2.2m in height) causes some serious heat when shot at an escapee or fighty prisoner.
From this week, the Pitchess Detention Center will be using it to scare 65 of its 3,700 prisoners, mounting it high up a dormitory wall as an ominous warning against bad behaviour. It's activated by a joystick, with the laser beam more the size of a CD than a pinpoint like normal lasers.
Any human rights readers up in arms at this news will be pleased to know that prison wardens actually tested the laser on themselves, with Commander Bob Osborne commenting that it's like "opening an oven door and feeling that blast of hot air, except instead of being all over me, it's more focused."
To be honest, it doesn't sound nearly as painful enough as it should be. [Daily Mail]