When can the law be used as a tool for reconciliation and repair instead of punishment? That’s the central question of Harvard Law Professor Martha Minow’s “When Should Law Forgive?” which explores how entities and communities in the United States and abroad utilize truth commissions, reparations, and debt forgiveness—alternatives that fall under the mantle of what’s known as restorative justice—to address wrongs and create a better future.
The idea of forgiveness and reconciliation as an alternative to vengeance is hardly new, but the recent focus on racial injustice and the school-to-prison pipeline is breathing new life into the restorative justice movement. We recently caught up with Minow to find out more about restorative justice and the inroads it is making. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
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