When Should Law Forgive?: A Conversation with Martha Minow

When Should Law Forgive?: A Conversation with Martha Minow

Monday, October 7, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

NYU School of Law's Vanderbilt Hall: Greenberg Lounge
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Today, 2.3 million people in the United States are behind bars — the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The cause: the U.S. criminal justice system is designed to punish. In their efforts to address the epidemic of mass incarceration, activists and advocates have sought reforms to reduce the severity of punishment for violations of the law. But what if our legal system was recalibrated to also weigh grounds for forgiveness?

In her new book, When Should Law Forgive?, Harvard Law School professor Martha Minow urges building forgiveness into the administration of American law. Drawing on powerful examples, she explores where the law’s tools of forgiveness, amnesties, and pardons might strengthen justice, peace, and democracy. Minow will outline her ideas for reforming the criminal justice system and explain how it would function in practice. Who has the right to forgive? Who should be forgiven? And under what terms? 

Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor, Former Dean, Harvard Law School; author of Why Should Law Forgive

Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, NYU School of Law

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