Some Arguments For

John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill, a 19th century British utilitarian philosopher, argued in favor of capital punishment before Parliament in 1868. In his speech, he advocated the death penalty as a deterrent for potential criminals, saying that its powerful hold on the imagination was a useful tool for helping the innocent resist temptation.

Like Mill, many modern thinkers have argued that the death penalty deters future crimes from taking place. This argument is supported by Bureau of Criminal Justice Statistic that with the decreasing number of executions since 1930, there has been a simultaneous increase in murders per capita.


some argue that if a life is truly sacred, the taking of another's life must not go unpunished. Only if a victim survives an attempted murder, they argue, should rehablitation be an option.


Studies of life in prison suggest that being put to death may actually cause less suffering than living a life in prison. This is attributed to psychological distress, prison violence, and even gnawing remorse.

Christian Support

Just as the Bible is used to justify abolition of the death penalty, so it is used to support it. Citing Genesis 9:5-6, which says "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed," many find support for capital punishment in religion.


As a utilitarian argument, many cite evidence that the cost for society to execute criminals is significantly less than to keep them alive in prison for the duration of their natural lives.