The Victorian government has lost its bid to keep teenagers in an adult prison, after losing an appeal to an earlier ruling.
Last week Victoria's Supreme Court ruled the state government was illegally holding about 20 children at the maximum-security Barwon Prison, and ordered them removed.
The state government immediately launched an appeal, which was knocked back on Wednesday.
#BREAKING: The Victorian Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that the detention of juveniles in adult prisons is unlawful— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) December 28, 2016
BREAKING: Court of Appeal found govt's bid to overturn decision that sending kids to adult prison has failed-govt acted illegally #springst— Nina Springle (@ninaspringle) December 28, 2016
Gov't appeal to transfer kids to adult prison has failed #Springst— Benjamin Preiss (@bpreiss) December 28, 2016
The Victorian Court of Appeal agreed with Justice Greg Garde's earlier finding that it was illegal to keep the youths in Barwon Prison.
The teenagers had been transferred to Barwon last month after the Parkville Youth Justice Centre was damaged in riots.
"There's no doubt the government has a policy challenge on its hands, but cruelty to children can never be the answer," Fitzroy Legal Service Executive Officer Claudia Fatone said in a statement.
Executive Director at the Human Rights Law Centre Hugh de Kretser said jailing the children in the state's most notorious adult prison was a terrible mistake.
"The government needs to house these children in a safe, lawful and appropriate facility," he said.
The State Government also made an appeal against a finding by Justice Garde of a breach of the children's human rights. That matter has been adjourned to a later date.
There are currently around 12 children held at the Barwon adult prison, the Human Rights Law Centre said.
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