pay (one's) debt to society

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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 ?
"When you go before a court and you are fined for whatever you do, you pay your fine, you pay your debt to society, whatever you do, so why should these people get away, why should these people live in the lap of luxury?" he said outside court.
IF you rob a bank you pay your debt to society through prison.
A gift of this sort screams, "I think you are a cheapskate and I will dutifully pay your debt to society for you."
In addressing Susan Richards he said: "You were more than just a cleaner you were a lieutenant - but you are of good character and you can pay your debt to society by working for the community without pay."
How do you pay your debt to society when you have tortured and butchered children who died screaming for mercy and for their mothers?
How do you pay your debt to society when you have raped, tortured and butchered small children, and condemned the loved ones who remain to a living death?