Sentencing is supposed to serve two aims, retribution and rehabilitation. The popular view is that it doesn't achieve enough of either. But if short prison terms don't work - and they don't - then neither largely do community sentences. So here's a truly progressive alternative; branding.
Young people are excessively vain about their appearance. Using liquid Nitrogen to brand a big 'T' on the forehead of a habitual thief or shoplifter, or 'V' for violent offenders, 'D' for druggies and so on would work as a disincentive like few other measures. It would affect fashion; the branded would affect hoodies or headbands to hide their brands whilst honest citizens would expose their brows. If they continued to offend, we could progress to those mediaeval fallbacks of nose-slitting and ear removal.
Alright, yes I am being silly. But let's start thinking off the page about crime and punishment; we don't want to be like the US, where 1 in 15 citizens experience imprisonment, but neither do we want to live in a world of crims taking the piss. What would you do?