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Jailing teens a 'wicked' conundrum: police

AAP logoAAP 22/12/2016 Melissa Meehan

One of Victoria's top cops says deciding where to house young offenders is a "wicked" conundrum after a court ruled it was illegal to send teenagers to an adult prison.

A group of youths will spend Christmas in Victoria's maximum security adult jail, despite a court ruling their transfer to Barwon Prison was illegal, because the government says it's got nowhere else to put them.

The teens were transferred in November after trashing the Parkville and Malmsbury youth detention centres during riots.

Victoria's Deputy Commissioner Shane Paton on Thursday acknowledged it was a difficult situation.

"I would say that Parkville (youth justice centre) was trashed by youths who were there, young criminal offenders," Mr Paton told 3AW.

"So where do you put them? They need to be housed so that they are safe and their human rights are protected.

"But the community needs to be protected as well, and the staff working there.

"This is probably best described as a really wicked question."

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Greg Garde on Wednesday ruled the state government's decision to transfer youths to the Grevillea unit at Barwon Prison "failed to give proper consideration to their human rights".

He initially ordered their almost immediate release but later relented when government lawyers claimed there was no alternative secure accommodation available.

A stay has been placed on their transfer out of Barwon Prison until December 28.

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