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Victoria insists teens safe in adult jail

AAP logoAAP 4/01/2017 Kaitlyn Offer

The state government continues to insist young offenders are safe in Victoria's maximum security adult jail as advocates consider the possibility of another legal challenge to the policy.

Eleven youths remain in single cells at Barwon Prison despite two court rulings that they be moved to more suitable facilities.

"We need to provide a safe and secure facility for those young offenders and also to ensure the safety of the staff," Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters on Wednesday.

"We recently gazetted Grevillia unit as a youth justice facility - education and health services are provided just as they were at Parkville."

But Ruth Barson from the Human Rights Law Centre says the organisation is examining legal options and will discuss them with the Barwon teens.

"It's just impossible that the state of Victoria, with all of its resources, has no other option than to put 10 to 15 children in the state's worst prison," she told AAP on Wednesday.

Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos has used Twitter to accuse lawyers acting for the teenagers in Barwon of ignoring the "obvious risks" of transferring youths to facilities where they'd have to share cells.

The teens were moved to Barwon in November after they trashed the Malmsbury and Parkville youth detention centres during riots.

Human rights lawyers challenged the transfer in the Victorian Supreme Court which ruled in the youths' favour just before Christmas.

The government subsequently appealed, and lost, but circumvented that judgment by gazetting the Grevillea unit as a youth justice facility and remand centre.

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