Denzel Washington thinks young men need good male role models.

The 62-year-old actor - who stars as an idealistic defence attorney in his new movie 'Roman J. Israel, Esq.' - has cited their upbringing and a lack of father figures as the main reasons why so many young men spend time in prison.

Asked whether the movie has made him more cynical about the justice system in America, Denzel responded: ''It starts at home.''

The Academy Award-winning star argued it's imperative young men have positive male influences in their lives if they are to remain on the right path.

Speaking to the NY Daily News, Denzel shared: ''It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn't have a father figure, he'll go find a father figure.

''So you know I can't blame the system. It's unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.''

The Hollywood star has four children - John David, 33, Katia, 29, and twins Olivia and Malcolm, 26 - with his actress wife Pauletta.

And despite being one of the best known actors in the movie business, Denzel has previously claimed he doesn't have many friends in the industry.

He shared: ''I don't make friends! Maybe I'm not a butt-kisser, maybe I'm not a schmoozer. I'm not about to go to a party to try to get a job. And then when you have children, the other friends become other parents. We'd coach baseball or basketball.

''My wife and I were raised right. I don't want movie-star friends and being African American, there were no big movie stars to hang out with anyway, not when I was starting out, they were just the third guy from the back! For whatever reason, I never befriended any white actors.''