Optimal timing and location for community meetings. Schedule the meeting on an evening in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday). A few days prior to the meeting, issue flyers to the neighborhood (or publish a notice in a local newspaper), inviting community members to attend the meeting and describe the meeting objectives. Arrange to convene the meeting in a location large enough to accommodate all community members, such as a school gymnasium or lecture hall, or town hall. If you choose to hold your meeting in a church or other religious facility, be sensitive to the fact that this issue often has religious implications for many members of the community.
In most states, community notification is conducted prior to a sex offender's release into the community. Scheduling a community meeting in advance of the offender's impending release gives citizens both the time to prepare and an appropriate venue for them to ask questions, calm their fears, and dispel any myths about sex offenders and offending that they may have. It is imperative that citizens understand the purpose of these meetings as informational only and that offenders will be released regardless of community notification. Citizens should not be given the impression that these meetings can be used to deny an offender's release from prison, or to decide whether an offender has the right to reside in their community.