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Martha Minow: When Should Law Forgive?

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Vanderbilt Hall, Greenberg Lounge

NYU School of Law

40 Washington Square South

New York, NY 10012

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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. But what if our legal system was recalibrated to also weigh grounds for forgiveness?

In her new book, When Should Law Forgive?, former Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow urges us to build 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 When Should Law Forgive?

Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, NYU School Of Law


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Vanderbilt Hall, Greenberg Lounge

NYU School of Law

40 Washington Square South

New York, NY 10012

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