A full review will be held into a riot at a Townsville youth detention centre which seriously injured a guard.
Queensland's attorney-general has denied prison staff were restricted from restraining inmates as she ordered a full review into a riot which saw 20 youths take control of a Townsville detention centre.
The riot late Thursday night left four guards injured - one blinded in one eye - and police revealed they had to call in a specialist "shield team" to get trapped and injured staff to safety.
The group had been playing football in a common area when they turned on guards, forcing 29 staff members to take refuge in a visitors centre.
More than 60 police responded to the drama which saw parts of the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre trashed, and inmates arm themselves with planks of wood and metal bars from a construction site within the centre..
They then climbed onto a rooftop, and over the ensuing 12 hours made demands for deliveries of KFC and alcohol, while pelting police and prison staff with rocks and other projectiles.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath made an emergency trip to Townsville on Friday to meet with centre managers and declared there would be a full investigation into what occurred.
"We will investigate this issue, to look at whether there was any issues that led up to the incident, or as it appears it may be, whether it was an opportunistic situation where the youths chose to engage in this very serious behaviour," Ms D'Ath told reporters.
She denied repeated questions that guards were not allowed to defend themselves and restrain the detainees.
Alex Scott from the Together Union, which represents the centre's guards, said the staff didn't stand a chance of defending themselves as they're not given any tools, including riot shields.
"We've been saying for a number of years that there needs to be appropriate equipment for youth workers to respond when these sort of instances occur," Mr Scott said.
Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker said the Labor government has lost control and couldn't effectively manage the state's youth detention centres.
He said unrest at the Cleveland centre was not new.
Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Taylor admitted the rioters had "free reign" within the detention centre when police arrived on Thursday evening.
He said the drama erupted when the 20 youths took advantage of the moment staff went to attend to a disturbance at a nearby accommodation block.
"For an unknown reason, those 20 persons have decided to start damaging things, and start using objects they were picking up to assault workers within the facility."
Among the 29 staff who sought refuge inside the visitors' centre were two nurses, who tended to the four injured workers while police made a plan to get them out.
The shield team worked to get the injured out first, and then went back for the 25 others.
Mr Taylor praised police for negotiating a peaceful end to the stand-off.
He said the 20 rioters were expected to face charges including rioting, wilful damage, assault and assault occasioning bodily harm.