UK minister: Press to blame for crowded prisons

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Britain's justice secretary says that the press is in part to blame for Britain's crowded prisons and that he wishes authorities would push back against media pressure to keep locking people up.

Britain has seen a doubling in the number of prisoners over the past 15 years, driven in part by tougher sentences and harsher penalties for breaching parole. Late last year, the U.K. prison population hit record highs.

Ken Clarke told fellow lawmakers Wednesday that Britain's tough-on-crime popular press pushed authorities toward longer sentences, complaining that the crowded prisons made it much harder to rehabilitate prisoners or train them for life on the outside.

He said the popular press was "responsible for thousands of people being in prison," adding, "Not all of them need to be there."