Photo Taken Inside Georgia Prison Shows 18-Year-Old Tormented by Fellow Inmates

Human Rights

A Georgia mother is looking for answers after a photo emerged of her 18-year-old son, who is incarcerated at a Georgia correctional facility, looking badly beaten, WRDW-TV 12 reports.

In the photo, Cortez Berry, of Augusta, Ga., has a bruised, swollen eye. Two men stand behind him, one of them holding a leash that is tied around Berry's neck.

Berry’s mother, Demetria Harris, first became aware of the photo when it began circulating on Facebook last Friday. The caption on the Facebook post reads, “When you disrespect the Nation, it brings nothing but pain and suffering.”

The message is a reference to the gang G.D. Nation or  “gangsta disciples,” experts say.


The photo horrified Berry’s mother.

"I was like, oh my god! What happened? How'd it happen? It's a terrifying picture to see," Harris said.

The part of the facility where Berry was beaten is currently on lockdown.

Here is what the Department of Corrections told News 12:

The Department is fully aware and this incident is currently under investigation. The Department does not allow inmates to have access to cellphones, as possession of such contraband is deemed illegal. Introduction of cellphones into our facilities is a nationwide issue the Corrections system is facing. The Department continuously works to utilize extensive resources to combat this issue. We take very seriously our mission of protecting the public and running safe and secure facilities.

Berry was first locked up when he was 14 for assault, robbery and theft. Last year, Berry was sent to the Burruss Correctional Training Center, a medium security detention center in Forsyth, Ga., for violating his parole.

Berry’s aunt, Shavondria Wright, said she saw him on Saturday to try to find out what happened.

"Ten people jumped on him and just kept beating him and they choked him to sleep,” Wright said. “Pretty much they left him there for dead.”

Berry’s family has lots of questions, including the main one: Where were the guards?

"He didn't get checked on until 9:45 at night. It happened at 3:15 and he didn't get checked on until 9:45," said Harris.

She added that the attack should not have happened.

"They're not being protected,” Harris said. “I don't care what they're there for, they still need to be protected.” 

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