A purely experimental design would demand complete random selection of the study population and control group. Ideally, the experimenter would randomly assign a pre-set number of convicted males in the target age range within several jurisdictions to either the experimental group (i.e., boot camp disposition) or the control group (i.e., traditional incarceration) (Grosof & Sardy, 1985). However, there are a number of reasons why such purely random selection would be impractical (if not impossible) in this situation. First of all, while the study focuses on the relative effectiveness of boot camps versus traditional incarceration, judges and correctional officials often have a broad range of sentencing disposition choices. For example, in purely random selection, the control group would probably be comprised of a sample population which had been assigned to a variety of dispositions, including probation, restitution programs, or traditional incarceration. In order to make a valid appraisal of whether or not boot camps are an effective form of alternative incarceration, it will be necessarily to exclude from the comparison subjects placed in non-incarceration dispositions.…
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