This is related in part to a post from Max regarding proportionality in war, which seems to be a selective mantra these days. So where did the concept of proportionality in retribution originate? I can't answer this, but can provide a few snippets from history:
"Of the Proportion between Crimes and Punishments.
It is not only the common interest of mankind that, crimes should not be committed, but that crimes of every kind should be less frequent, in proportion to the evil they produce to society. Therefore the means made use of by the legislature to prevent crimes should be more powerful, in proportion as they are destructive of the public safety and happiness, and as the inducements to commit them are stronger. Therefore there ought to be a fixed proportion between crimes and punishments."
- An Essay on Crimes and Punishments, by Cesare Beccaria
So far so good. The proportionality should be weighed in terms of the overall damage that the crime does and as a deterrent against more such crime. The proportion needed to cause deterrence is the part that can become really extreme. Cesare notes that many laws are on the books from ancient times, and the changes to society will necessarily change the proportions of punishment that is needed for deterrence.
At this point it would be appropriate to catalog crimes and punishments throughout history to look at how this is done, which Cesare fails to do. For example, something from the Roman code of Justinian:
"The penalty for injuries under the law of the Twelve Tables was a limb for a limb, but if only a bone was fractured, pecuniary compensation being exacted proportionate to the great poverty of the times."
The law of the twelve tables was developed about 450BC and according to Livy derives from the earlier Greek legal systems. This reminds us immediately of the Biblical command:
"If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him." - Leviticus 24:19-20
This is related to injuries whether accidental or done in the passion of a moment. A problem with this is that those who commit crime in a premeditated manner would immediately realize that if they are caught, the worst that happens is that they must return whatever they took. But likely they won't be caught, thus, probabilities favor engaging in theft. Thus, premeditated theft is treated differently in the Bible:
"If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep." - Exodus 22:1
Thus, proportionality is really what is needed to achieve deterrence when premeditated crime is involved.
The Christian view is that we shouldn't get so hung up on earthly belongings that we are obsessed with retribution. A few years later and we will be dead and gone, while all our belongings are the property of someone else.