The West Australian government will not close the state's only juvenile detention centre but has vowed to fix the problems at the facility.
18 Jul - 5:40 PM 

The West Australian government is refusing to shut down the state's only juvenile detention centre following a damning report that revealed unprecedented levels of self-harm and other problems.

Inspector of Custodial Services Neil Morgan recommended the state government consider opening several smaller facilities, adding Banksia Hill Detention Centre could be repurposed as a female prison or drug rehabilitation centre.

Acting Premier Roger Cook described the report as "very concerning" and said Labor had argued in opposition that closing Rangeview Juvenile Remand Centre in 2012 was a mistake, with the impact of that now being felt.

"We won't be shutting down Banksia Hill. It is an important part of our correctional facilities," he told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Cook said while Labor was not responsible for the "bungle", the new government did regret the situation at Banksia Hill.

The report noted there were five attempted suicides and 191 cases of self-harm last year at Banksia Hill, compared to 77 cases of self-harm in 2015.

The number of "critical incidents" has also increased, with flash bombs used to control detainees during violence, which Mr Morgan said was unprecedented in either adult or youth facilities in WA.

The report also found inmates were sometimes denied time out of their cell to exercise, restraints were increasingly used, food high in sugar had been restricted as a behaviour management technique, CCTV evidence had been wiped and records were falsely entered.

In one case, a girl was allegedly found soaking in her own urine after being confined to an observation cell with boys and having only a temporary screen between them, prompting Amnesty International to call on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to intervene.

The group claims abuses are on the same level as Don Dale in the Northern Territory, which sparked a royal commission.

Mr Cook said it was not appropriate to have girls and young children in the same facility as older boys, and the government would work with not-for-profit organisations on the issue.

"We are looking at ways that we can get young boys and girls out of that facility so we can provide them with more appropriate accommodation," he said.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.