Teen Shown in ‘Prison Leash’ Photo Gets Transferred to More Dangerous Location

Prison Culture

*I guess there is a price to pay in prison for family members who talk to the media. And the family of Cortez Berry, the 18-year-old inmate beaten savagely in a Georgia prison and photographed by a contraband cellphone is paying heavily. Since the headlines showing the disturbing photo of the young man kneeling between two inmates while wearing a man-made leash fashioned from material around his neck (with the other end of the leash tightly wound around the left hand of one of the other teens) went viral, he has been transferred to a maximum security prison, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A move that was supposedly made for his own protection,

The thing is, the prison he was sent to is worse than the one he came from. In fact, seven inmates were killed there since 2010.

Cortez’ aunt, Shavondria Wright, who spoke with the media when the family saw the photo, believes she is the reason for his transfer; and that it was made in retaliation for her speaking out.

The AJC confirmed Thursday that Berry was moved from the Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth, to Smith State Prison in Glennville.

Berry, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence at Burruss for carjacking and assault, is reported to have been beaten by 10 juvenile gang members after he refused to join their gang. The photograph was taken and sent via text to Berry’s family and friends; then turned up on Facebook, where it went viral.

“The (Gangster Disciples) came in and told him that since he was turning 18, he might as well join the gang, because you about to go to the other side,” said Wright; who was referring to the adult side of the prison where juvenile offenders go when they turn 18.

Wright, who says the family wasn’t told about the transfer, says she is disappointed with her nephew’s new surroundings. Smith State Prison is not conveniently located near her and the violence at Burruss prison pales in comparison to Smith State Prison.

According to a report obtained by the AJC, Smith State prison is one of the three most dangerous prisons in Georgia.

“Why would they transfer him there to a maximum security prison?” said Wright. “I don’t think it is safer. What do people serving life care for hurting him?”

Meanwhile, the Department of Corrections continues to investigate the beating incident.


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