The NSW government broke the law by subjecting juvenile detainees to lengthy solitary confinement, an independent report has found.
NSW Corrections Minister David Elliot called for the review in 2016 following the scandal at the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.
At the time, he said “there is no practice or provision of isolation of young people in custody”.
But the report, released at 4pm on Friday, by the independent Inspector of Custodial Services, Fiona Rafter, shows “significant failings” in NSW juvenile justice centres.
It specifically mentions the Chisholm Behaviour Program which kept young people locked up alone for 22 hours a day for weeks at a time.
Sixty-six “high-risk” detainees, many of them Aboriginal, were held at Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre on the outskirts of Sydney.
One young person spent 23 weeks confined to a “dark” cell in the early phases of the program.
According to Ms Rafter, the decision to shut the centre down in 2016 was "correct".
“There are significant lessons to be learned by Juvenile Justice from the Chisholm Behaviour Program,” she said.
Data showed Aboriginal youth detainees were disproportionally subjected to solitary confinement.
The report also said young people in the NSW justice system were subjected to excessive use of force and inappropriate “routine” strip searches.
"The practice of searching young people by asking them to partially remove their clothes may be humiliating and distressing for young people," the report said.
"This is particularly the case given that many young people in detention have experienced abuse."