Many moral and political philosophers, including those sympathetic to utilitarianism, take the view that utilitarianism allows for and at times even requires the punishment of the innocent. Despite the widespread expression of this view, its meaning is not clear. One might trace at least three different strands of argument which are often conflated, if not confused. The first is concerned with punishment itself and sees the punishment of the innocent as part of the legacy of utilitarianism in a theory of deterrence. If crime can be deterred by punishing the innocent, such punishment is supposedly justified. The second strand is concerned with justice and the potential conflict between maximizing happiness on the one hand and its distribution according to some principle, such as desert, on the other. The idea of inflicting pain on an innocent person is introduced not as a component of a theory of punishment but as a possible means of maximizing happiness generally in society. The third strand holds that punishing the innocent or immorality generally is a potential feature of all teleological theories (including utilitarianism) in cases in which such actions would be conducive to the realization of the end. This strand of thought emphasizes the tendency for the end to justify whatever means are employed.