Barton’s empowerment model presents a critical examination of traditionally held views of the criminal justice system.
The book is written in a clear and concise way and presents an insightful analysis of current restorative justice theory and philosophy.
Barton’s approach to restorative justice presents a challenge to traditionally held views through using the principle of empowerment as the basis for the conceptual framework of restorative justice. The empowerment model presents as the overarching conceptual framework from which restorative justice stems.
Barton presents a balance between theory and practice. Written in plain English, Barton provides workable methodologies through separate chapters tailored for use by all the participants in restorative justice meetings including, victims, offenders and professionals such as police officers, social workers and legal advocates.
This book is a useful book for practitioners and stakeholders alike as it will enhance their comprehension and practical application of the restorative justice process.
Barton presents an effective combination of theory and practice and is an excellent read for anyone with an interest in criminal justice and the restorative justice process. – Ethos (Law Society of the ACT), March 2004
Charles Barton combines his own analytical and practical experience in examining and promoting an empowerment model or paradigm of restorative justice. …
[This] paradigm or model [has] victim-offender empowerment as the central principle of criminal justice. In this regard, he contends that much of restorative justice theory and advocacy has falsely opposed retributive and restorative justice. The idea and pursuit of empowerment for victims and offenders provides a more philosophically and empirically plausible over-arching framework for restorative justice. …
In Part I, Barton constucts the theory behind this empowerment model of restorative justice. Chapters in this part cover:
a critique of the present criminal justice system;
the empowerment model of criminal justice;
social and moral psychological mechanisms in restorative justice.
In Part II, he moves from theory to practice. Chapters in this part provide:
a comparison of different restorative justice conferencing models;
a guide for facilitators of conferences;
general remarks for participants in conferences; and
specific comments for
victims and their supporters;
offenders and their supporters;
program managers, referring agents and policy makers.
Barton adds to the usefulness of this book with appendices containing a script for facilitators, a crisis management plan and role plays, as well as a bibliography and an index. – Restorative Justice online, July 2004 edition
This book is a welcome contribution to the emergent literature of restorative justice theory and method. It will also be a useful resource for practitioners, professionals involved with conferencing, and tertiary educators and students. …
This book, which started out as a group conferencing manual, provides practitioners with a strong conceptual framework within which to situate their practice, without requiring them to wade through mountains of dense theoretical exposition. Barton also offers practitioners a positive alternative framework to what has, to date, been one of the dominant approaches in Australian restorative justice, namely John Braithwaite’s theory of ‘reintegrative shaming’. …
Barton offers a different view. He … introduces a ‘paradigm of empowerment’ that has its origins in victim empowerment and victim justice. Central to this perspective is the belief that for restorative justice to be truly successful, all the key stakeholders must be empowered. Empowerment in this context means that ‘all parties must be enabled to negotiate from a position of knowledge, and with confidence that they can deal with this matter and make a positive difference in the outcome’. …
In my view [the book’s] focus on empowering participants places a greater priority on the notion of ‘making things right’. Barton’s recognition of the centrality of all stakeholders to the success of restorative justice processes is also important. His theory, as well as his practical concepts for participants, apply not only to facilitators, offenders and victims, but also extend to those who are involved in the role of supporter; professionals (such as police, social workers, and legal advocates); and those whose presence is felt in a more abstract way (such as program managers, referring agents and policy makers). …
The theoretical approach here is clearly directed at making aspects of restorative justice theory sensical to practitioners. According to Barton, his aim has been to put theory into accessible language. An inevitable consequence is that some of the academic rigour usually associated with theoretical pursuit is lost to the prioritisation of clarity of communication. This is not a bad thing in light of the work’s key objective of facilitating success for all participants in restorative justice processes through enhancing and improving approaches to best practice. …
In pursuing the reality of achieving empowerment in practice, Barton is prepared to be unapologetically focussed on emphasising some of its necessary mundanities – for example the importance of preparing facilitation instruments such as a seating plan and scripted prompts. In fact, 44 of the 179 pages of text are devoted to practical appendices that offer a script for facilitators, a crisis management plan and a number of role-plays. – Rachael Field, QUT Journal of Law and Justice, Vol 4 No 1, 117