INVISIBLE CAGE is a short documentary that examines the impacts of prosecuting young people as sex offenders. The requirement to register for juvenile sex offenders is a critical juvenile justice issue.
The film introduces us to two young people who were convicted as sex offenders before the age of 16 years old. Derrick was a star athlete in multiple sports who was prevented from participating in his varsity basketball team. He has reconsidered his future in the NBA. Brooklyn has had difficulty finding employment over many years and is now self-employed as a hair stylist, a skill she earned at a young age.
Both Derrick and Brooklyn must register annually with the Illinois State Police. This process involves having their photo taken, being fingerprinted, renewing their state IDs, and updating their personal information in a non-public database. Failure to register, for any reason, is a felony.
Through their stories, we learn how the conviction and requirement to register has impacted them and their families. The conviction will stay on their personal record for life, and already has limited them from employment opportunities, extra-curricular and pro-social activities.
The stigma of the label "sex offender" has profoundly impacted how Derrick and Brooklyn view their future opportunities with school, work and personal relationships.