Courts in Wisconsin and Georgia have upheld the placement of people convicted of “false imprisonmnt” on sex offender registries even if their crimes were not sexual. Stateline.org asks whether the cases indicate that states have gone too far in categorizing criminals as sex offenders. 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 by July. The law 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.
“When you start putting everything on (the registry), it diminishes the impact of it,” says Kansas State Sen. Tim Owens. Owens helped derail legislation approved by the Kansas House that would have added those who solicit prostitutes to the list of people who must register with the state as sex offenders. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,says there are 705,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., up from 603,000 three years ago.