The newly released movie, “Brian Banks”, deserves attention. A lot of attention. Attention from every person required to register as a sex offender as well as his/her family and friends.
Based upon a true story, the movie is about a 16-year-old high school athlete who is falsely accused of raping a 15-year-old girl who attended the same school. The movie accurately portrays the challenges he faces before conviction as well as both inside and outside of prison.
For example, a plea deal goes wrong after Brian enters a plea of “no contest”. Instead of being sentenced to probation, Brian is sentenced to prison. And while in prison, Brian’s life is threatened after he sees one inmate kill another.
The main focus of the movie, however, is what happens to Brian after he is released from prison starting with the requirement that he register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He finds it very difficult to find a job and even more difficult to keep a job without violating one or more of his 100+ parole conditions. He also finds it very difficult to start a personal relationship.
Without a doubt, the star of the movie is Brian Banks. There is however, an extremely important organization portrayed in the movie as well — the Innocence Project — which reluctantly agrees to represent him in the beginning but enthusiastically represents him later. It is due to the efforts of both Brian and the Innocence Project that Brian’s conviction is ultimately overturned and he is no longer required to register as a sex offender.
Why is this movie important? There are at least two reasons.
First, the movie gives hope to anyone who has been falsely accused of a crime. Second, the movie has the potential of educating the public about what it is like for anyone required to register as a sex offender.
This movie, in fact, has the potential of taking us to The Tipping Point, that is, the time and place when the public understands that the requirement to register as sex offender is PUNISHMENT and not an administrative requirement despite how the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003.
That is why it is important that everyone of us recommend watching this movie to as many people as possible. In addition to supporting a movie that accurately portrays the challenges faced by members of our community, it is also an opportunity to open a dialogue about what is really happening to more than 900,000 families in our country today.
— by Janice Bellucci
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