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U.K. Justice Minister Blames Riots On Penal System

Firefighters try to extinguish a burning 140-year-old furniture store in Croydon, South London, during the early August riots.
The British justice minister says the riots that swept across England last month were the result of a "broken penal system."

Kenneth Clarke said the system has failed to rehabilitate a group of hardcore offenders he described as the "criminal classes."

In an article in the "Guardian" newspaper, he said the civil unrest had laid bare an urgent need for penal reform to stop reoffending among "a feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream in everything but its materialism."

compiled from agency reports

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