Granted it's sci fi, but the Gene Wolfe book Shadow of the Torturer had an interesting take on physical punishment in lieu of fines/imprisonment.
The basic of it was this: Fines are difficult to assess, and have different impacts for different people. A rich guy might not care as he can afford the fine, and an old guy might not care about a fine as he won't have to care much longer if he goes into debt (Sure, sign my grandpa up for a credit card...)
While imprisonment may seem equal, it has a drawback as it ties up a lot of resources, both for keeping the prisoner and the loss of the prisoner as a working member of society.
It basically boiled down to: Commit a crime, get sentenced to an excruciation commensurate to the offence, and next week or so everyone is back to work. Since no matter if you are rich/poor/young/old/connected, physical pain is physical pain.
Not saying I'd advocate such a system, but it was interesting to contemplate physical punishment from another point of view. Going into the book I couldn't imagine I would ever think such a thing even remotely justifiable.