Have states gone too far in categorizing criminals as sex offenders? Already, the number of registered sex offenders is growing quickly, and it will only keep rising as more states comply with the federal Adam Walsh Act. That law requires all states to make false imprisonment a sex offense, as Georgia and Wisconsin already do, by July. The Adam Walsh Act also requires the states to post more information about sex offenders on their registries, such as their work addresses. So far, only Ohio has fully complied with the law.
In Wisconsin, Supreme Court Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler’s opinion noted that 41 states have laws requiring kidnappers and other criminals who may not have committed sex crimes to register as sex offenders. In most instances, kidnapping and false imprisonment of a minor are deemed by state law to be crimes that have a “nexus” to sexual offenses because they involve children or teenagers.”
Further: “Arizona parents who want to find out whether a suspicious e-mail has been sent by a registered sex offender now can check the sender’s e-mail address against the state’s database of convicted molesters.
Utah residents can sign up for e-mail alerts to notify them when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood.
Wisconsin’s online registry provides maps to let users know exactly where the closest sex offender lives.
And in Texas, the state’s sex offender registry — which includes more than 54,000 people — now features information ranging from offenders’ work addresses to their nicknames and even shoe sizes.
All 50 states have publicly searchable sex offender registries, which are accessible through a national database kept by the U.S. Justice Department, a Web site that averages 2.3 million page views a day.” (via)