pay (one's) dues to society

pay (one's) dues to society

To serve the sentence given to one upon conviction of a crime. In the eyes of the law, he has paid his dues to society, so he shouldn't be facing any further punishment for his past crimes. I spent nearly 15 years in prison—I paid my dues to society!
See also: due, pay, society

pay one’s dues (to society)

tv. to serve a prison or jail sentence. I served ten years in prison. I’ve paid my dues to society. The matter is settled.
See also: due, pay, society