More than 110 young people were held in police cells for more than 24 hrs between June 2019 and July last year.
In that same period, five young people self harmed or attempted to take their own life in a cell, with the youngest just 14 years old.
A youth advocate who was held in the cells many times during his adolesence says they are violent, angry cages.
Tupua Urlich says a childhood in care left him dislocated from family, and the state did little to restore or preserve those relationships.
He told reporter Katie Doyle that left him frustrated when he eventually returned home.