America incarcerates people at a higher rate than any other nation in the world. In "When Should Law Forgive?," 300th Anniversary University Professor and former Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow analyzes the tools of forgiveness that are already built into our criminal justice system, and how they could be better utilized to create a more restorative society.

On Boston Public Radio on Thursday, Minow said forgiveness in the context of law means "letting go of justified grievances" to focus less on revenge and more on repairing harm.

"The focus is forward-looking rather than retrospective," she said. "The focus is actually restoring some sense of peace and developing some norms within the community where people actually participate, not just one-on-one, but as a collective on how do we prevent conflict and how do we actually build a stronger community."

Across the country, a new waveof district attorneys have won elections campaigning on progressive criminal justice reform, including Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who ran on a platform of not prosecuting certain nonviolent crimes.

"It's a wonderful statement about the power of democracy, the electorate at least in those communities have said, 'We want prosecutors who will use the tools of forgiveness that are built into the legal system and decide about scarce resources, and are they best spent on low-level drug offenses, or is it better to actually find ways to reintegrate people into society,'" Minow said.