Very, horribly, bad development. Patching the result, not the root cause of the problem - and deteriorating the society in process. The device’s safety is absolutely unclear. I am convinced that microwaving eye’s cornea to 2/3 of it’s depth is a bad thing. Witness accounts tell that is feels like scalding their skin. Would anyone consider scalding one’s eyes healthy? Other health concerns are posted in the same ACLU article .
But the worst effect is the moral one, mentioned by some commenters to the NPR story. Using the device is like a video game for prison staff - they are removed from the action. It is an ultimate humiliation and indignity for inmates, being tortured by a human “above them”. The device application is not improving inmates’ social outlook, it’s making them feel whipped animals and gives a moral “permit” to be anti-social to guards. All because bureaucrats mis-balanced prison occupancy and laws and now quick-fixing their mistakes at the expense of human lives.
Zimbardo’s study is directly applicable here with it’s effects and discoveries.
The other issue is that the NPR story is very unbalanced, showing lots of “pro” material and no elaboration on “cons” considerations. I hope NPR sticks to better reporting.