Crime is primarily a symptom of poor culture and poor upbringing (not monetarily poor but rather a lack of values).
Crime must be punished but any punishment that destroys a person's ability to be self-supporting or retain a job defeats the purpose.
I would like to see all prisons closed and us go to a system of heavy fines and corporal punishment for lesser offenses and for some major offenses. Certain unforgiveable offenses should result in execution carried out promptly and publicly (preferably by hanging). I would also like a recognition that people who repeatedly commit certain major offenses should be put to death even if they haven't committed an unforgiveable offense.
Unforgiveable offense should only be met with the death penalty when there is no doubt the convicted is guilty or when the convicted has prior unforgiveable offenses on his/her record.
Unforgiveable offenses: Forced rape, murder, child molestation, treason, engaging in terrorism. Any conviction where there is no doubt should result in automatic execution (within a week). Any two convictions where there is doubt should result in automatic execution (within a week). Any single conviction in combination with a conviction for a sever crime as outlined below should result in death.
Sever crimes: Aggravate assault, assault with a deadly weapon, armed home invasion, voluntary manslaughter, and similar violent person on person crimes. Anyone who gets convicted of these crimes on three separate occasions and by three separate juries isn't fit to live and gets automatic execution (within a week of conviction 3).
Most lesser crimes should be dealt with through simple fines or corporal punishment (whipping/caning).
Juries should never be told about the prior convictions. Prior convictions are a sentencing matter.
One of the biggest problems with our current system is that it strips a person of everything he has. A man (or woman) in prison has no job, loses virtually all property, loses all advancement in his/her career, and otherwise leaves prison with virtually nothing left to live for.
The beauty of a system of fines, corporal punishment, and capital punishment is that conviction for largely non-violent offenses would not deprive the convicted of years of his/her life, nor would he necessarily be unable to work or even lose his job. A person who commits minor crimes could be punished without having his life crippled/ruined by the conviction. He would still have something to lose (job, wife, kids, house, etc.). Violent offenders and people who commit major crimes would also be put to death far more efficiently.
No one would linger in prisons getting raped and brutalized.
As for anyone wrongly convicted, it is highly unlikely a person could be wrongly convicted and be sentenced to death on a first offense. The wrongly convicted (even of the most serious offense) would suffer a severe whipping BUT would not lose years/decades of his life. He would still be able to live his life, just with a number of unearned scars.