In the wake of a seven-hour stand-off involving four detainees and staff at the Orana Juvenile Justice Centre in Dubbo, the union representing staff is ramping up calls for the NSW government to make major changes to the system.
"In NSW's juvenile justice system high-risk offenders, on murder charges and terror watch lists, mix with the general population," Public Service Association (PSA) Assistant Secretary Troy Wright says.
"The violence they bring further disrupts other young offenders' chances of getting out of the criminal justice cycle.
"Not a day goes by when there isn't some kind of violent incident across the state in these juvenile justice centres
"The system sees the highest-risk offenders are shuffled between centres across the state, because there is no proper plan for handling their complex needs."
Mr Wright wants therapeutic centres established, to offer young criminals services like counselling and education, to help them function as adults.
He says high-risk offender units should be re-introduced to help reduce the risk violent detainees pose.
"We've been in talks with the government about this since the start of the year, and we urge the government to act now," he says.
"We need juvenile detention centres with special units that can manage high-risk detainees who present an acute threat to themselves and others.
"Training for de-escalation is important, but so is making structural changes that can help minimise risk in the first place."
Mr Wright says instead of early intervention, juvenile criminals follow a well-worn path into the system.
"Once they're behind the wire, there is limited rehabilitation, counselling or education opportunities," he says.
"PSA members want the best for these kids, but the system doesn't have the proper resources to break the cycle."
Introducing enhanced support units would also help improve the situation in Juvenile Justice centres, Mr Wright says.
"This measure would see the more volatile, disruptive kids, like the main instigator of the Orana rooftop incident, separated out and given the proper attention and rehabilitation they need.
"Surely this is something that this government wants in providing a platform which aids detainees in gaining skills and understanding of their behaviours which can break the cycle of reoffending or moving through to the adult system."
Mr Wright says the union has been discussing the juvenile justice problems with the state government since the start of the year.
"We've been calling for proper management of high-risk juvenile detainees for more than two years now, so while we welcome the talks the delay in action has been frustrating."