Those who commit crimes against the property of others, i.e, joy riders who damage or destroy vehicles, fraudsters who cheat people out of their money and savings, thieves who take other people's property and any malicious act of property destruction etc. should be made to pay for the damage they cause, restoring the value of such property to their victims.
Rather than prison, they should be placed in work, in either government approved privately owned companies or government sponsored institutions that provide physical labour for either industry or local government projects etc. and have to continue to work until their wages – based on the standard minimum wage – have repaid their victims in full. Their work should be monitored and if they fail to adhere to the tasks set them, time should be added and wages docked. There should be no free wheeling in their commitment. They should not be freed from this commitment until they have paid in full and failure to complete said obligation – through absenteeism etc. – should result in prison thereafter.
Why is this idea important?
Many people lose their property to crime. It is no compensation to know the convicted criminal has gone to prison for a short spell. It doesn't restore the property to their victims and the criminal just goes straight back out onto the street to do it again and again. For the habitual or petty criminal, prison is just facet of the job. Opportunist criminals commit property theft because they know sentences are light.
Those who have lost out financially to crime have worked hard to pay for the things that the criminals have stolen or destroyed. Criminals need to know what it is to work for things they want and what it feels like to lose them to a third party.