Source: (2000) In Restorative justice: Philosophy to practice, ed. Heather Strang and John Braithwaite, 55-76. Burlington, Vermont, U.S.: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Barton asserts that punishment and retribution cannot be ruled out categorically by any system of justice. Hence, he argues, restorative critiques of the status quo in criminal justice often miss the mark. Current practice in criminal justice is not essentially or predominantly retributive, and even restorative justice responses often contain retributive and punitive elements. The more plausible critique is that the status quo silences, marginalizes, and disempowers the primary stakeholders in criminal justice disputes. This chief weakness of the status quo leads to the chief strength of restorative justice interventions. With all of this in mind, Barton scrutinizes the common restorative justice critique that current criminal justice is wrong because it is retributive, maintains that restorative and retributive justice are compatible, and considers the question of disempowerment in both criminal justice and restorative justice.