Death Penalty Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old death penalty quotes, death penalty sayings, and death penalty proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.     

J.R.R. Tolkien

Death row is a nightmare to serial killers and ax murderers. For an innocent man, it's a life of mental torture that the human spirit is not equipped to survive.     

John Grisham

Death penalty is the number one killer of killers.     

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

The death penalty is discriminatory and does not do anything about crime.     

Bobby Scott

More prisons, more enforcement, effective death penalty.     

Jerry Weller

First of all, it does not deter crime, the death penalty.     

Patricia Cornwell

I support the death penalty because I believe, if administered swiftly and justly, capital punishment is a deterrent against future violence and will save other innocent lives.     

George Walker Bush

I think people would be alive today if there were a death penalty.     

Nancy Davis Reagan

For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists.     

Albert Camus

I don't think you should support the death penalty to seek revenge. I don't think that's right. I think the reason to support the death penalty is because it saves other people's lives.     

George W. Bush

Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.     

J.R.R. Tolkien

Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders.     

Albert Camus

To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice.     

Desmond Tutu

As if one crime of such nature, done by a single man, acting individually, can be expiated by a similar crime done by all men, acting collectively.     

Lewis Lawes

If we believe that murder is wrong and not admissible in our society, then it has to be wrong for everyone, not just individuals but governments as well.     

Helen Prejean

The reality is that capital punishment in America is a lottery. It is a punishment that is shaped by the constraints of poverty, race, geography and local politics.     

Bryan Stevenson

It should be clear that the death penalty does just the opposite of promoting decency and respect for life. It dehumanizes people and promotes murder. It can never be applied fairly.     

John Morrison

Can the state, which represents the whole of society and has the duty of protecting society, fulfill that duty by lowering itself to the level of the murderer, and treating him as he treated others? The forfeiture of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict it on another, even when backed by legal process.     

Kofi Annan

I have reached the conviction that the abolition of the death penalty is desirable. Reasons: 1) Irreparability in the event of an error of justice, 2) Detrimental moral influence of the execution procedure on those who, whether directly or indirectly, have to do with the procedure.     

Albert Einstein

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.     

Mohandas Gandhi

There has never been any evidence that the death penalty reduces capital crimes or that crimes increased when executions stopped. Tragic mistakes are prevalent...It is clear that there are overwhelming ethical, financial, and religious reasons to abolish the death penalty.     

Former President Jimmy Carter

I now understand that the death penalty is an ineffective, cruel and simplistic response to the complex problem of violent crime. Our limited resources could be better spent on programs that focus on stopping violence before it starts, such as preventing child abuse and drug addiction-programs that will prevent another child from becoming the next [murderer].     

Darryl Stallworth

If we could do away with death, we wouldn't object; to do away with capital punishment will be more difficult. Were that to happen, we would reinstate it from time to time.     

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Many of us do not believe in capital punishment, because thus society takes from a man what society cannot give.     

Katharine Fullerton Gerould

Capital punishment is our society's recognition of the sanctity of human life.     

Orrin Hatch

The death penalty is a poor person's issue. Always remember that: after all the rhetoric that goes on in the legislative assemblies, in the end, when the deck is cast out, it is the poor who are selected to die in this country.     

Sister Helen Prejean

Capital punishment is as fundamentally wrong as a cure for crime as charity is wrong as a cure for poverty.     

Henry Ford

Capital punishment would be more effective as a preventive measure if it were administered prior to the crime.     

Woody Allen

Despite the courts efforts to fashion a death penalty scheme that is just, fair and reliable, the system is not working. Innocent people are being sentenced to death......It is no answer to say that we are doing the best that we can. If this is the best our state can do, we have no business sending people to their deaths.     

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Moses Harrison II

It's just really tragic after all the horrors of the last 1,000 years we can't leave behind something as primitive as government sponsored execution.     

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold