Inmates 'hogtied' at troubled youth jail

The harsh treatment of youths at Perth's Banksia Hill detention centre has been revealed, including the use of a hogtie restraint considered to pose a risk of suffocation or death.

Videos of concerning incidents at the troubled centre will be shown on the ABC's Four Corners program on Monday night.

They will reportedly show guards using a practice known as the hogtie or folding up technique where a youth's arms and legs are forced against their head with officers using their body weight to restrain them.

The practice was outlawed in Queensland in 2017 while the Northern Territory royal commission into the Don Dale detention centre found it posed "significant risks of injury or death".

Professor Stuart Kinner, who leads research into the health of marginalised and justice-involved people at Curtin University said the footage raised serious questions about the treatment of children in detention.

"This footage is very alarming and raises major concerns around the treatment of prisoners at Banksia Hill youth detention centre, which includes some as young as 10 years of age," Dr Kinner said.

"It is critical that youth prisons here in Australia, and around the world, meet appropriate healthcare standards.

"Both children and adults who are incarcerated retain all of their basic human rights and are entitled to treatment and support that ensures they have the best possible chance to successfully integrate into the community when released."

In a statement to Four Corners, the Western Australian Department of Justice said the restraint was "only authorised for officers to use as a last resort, in the most extreme circumstances, for as little time as possible, where there is a safety risk to staff and other detainees".

The department said restraint techniques "should not cause pain or injury".

The program also raised issues about conditions in Banksia Hill, with cells filthy with spit and blood, according to former inmates.

It came after the WA Supreme Court ruled in August that a teenage boy was unlawfully locked in his cell for up to a day at a time.

Justice Paul Tottle found the boy's treatment was not authorised under the Young Offenders Act despite the facility's problems with inadequate staffing.

Justice Tottle described such confinement as severe and said it could result in considerable harm.

His ruling has prompted a class action with hundreds of past and present detainees alleging they suffered inhumane treatment at the facility.

While acknowledging previous staffing issues, the WA government said there had been a significant reduction in incidents at Banksia Hill since the "most difficult cohort of young people with complex needs" had been moved to a standalone building at an adult prison.

The state government has also promised that a review of young offender laws will examine the isolation and separation of detainees.