Women should not be sent to jail unless they are "very violent", a Labour MP has claimed.
Barry Sheerman told the Commons he did not believe women should be imprisoned, and that they should instead be sent to women's centres.
"I don’t believe on the whole that women should go to prison unless they are very violent," he said.
"We should not be sending women to prison for not paying television licences, or minor crimes."
The Huddersfield MP continued: "Can we have a debate on women and prisons, and why can't we have women's centres up and down our country that support women who get in trouble with the law and go to prison? Because at the moment they come out with no housing, no counselling, no support and no work."
His comments came amid calls for a better system for those who have broken the law.
Commons leader Mel Stride said Mr Sheerman's remarks on the issue "will be heard".
He continued: "The female prison population is, of course, a minority number but, nonetheless, there are issues as to whether incarceration in that form is appropriate in all instances as you have suggested."