US prisons are becoming a hotbed for indoctrinating inmates and turning them into radical Muslims, US lawmakers were told Wednesday in the second of a series of controversial hearings.

"Despite appearances, prison walls are porous. Outside influences access those on the inside, and inmates reach from the inside out," Patrick Dunleavy, a retired New York prison inspector, told US lawmakers.

"Individuals and groups that subscribe to radical Islamic ideology have made sustained efforts to target inmates for indoctrination."

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