pay (one's) debt to society

(redirected from pay his debt to society)

pay (one's) debt to society

To serve the sentence given to one upon conviction of a crime. In the eyes of the law, he has paid his debt 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 debt to society!
See also: debt, pay, society
References in periodicals archive ?
Harry Gow, defending, said his client had been studying for a degree, adding: "He accepts he has to pay his debt to society for what he has done."
Mr Cordey added: "He now wants to pay his debt to society and live a normal life on his release."
If the courts are convinced that someone will not re-offend and can pay his debt to society in some other way, there is no point in locking him up.
that Michael Deaver pay his debt to society that a convict can best repay society by applying to some worthy endeavor the skills he once used illegally; that way, the punishment has a certain symmetry.
I am calling on you to make this evil man pay his debt to society in full - and keep him behind bars where he belongs until 2004.