A group of five teenage detainees including some who have committed serious sex crimes were the main culprits in this week's riot at Darwin's Don Dale Detention Centre.
They could be separated from other inmates regarded as better prospects for rehabilitation under new "management plans".
The notorious centre had to temporarily close this week after Tuesday's riot.
Detainees attacked a youth justice worker with a metal table leg and stole his keys, let other inmates out of cells, set alight and destroyed an education building and used angle grinders to try to escape.
The 25 detainees were moved to Darwin's Police Watch House, prompting criticism it wasn't safe for youths.
NT Deputy chief minister Nicole Manison said the detainees would go back to Don Dale from Friday or the weekend despite damage but a cohort of five "very difficult individuals" needed new complex arrangements.
"These four to five did not behave in an acceptable manner the other night and led the issues at Don Dale so we are looking at appropriate management plans around them," she told reporters.
"We are looking at whereabouts in Don Dale they can be housed ... different staffing programs.
"There is also a cohort there making a real effort to become better people."
NT ministers have blamed detainees for the violence and the fact the Don Dale centre they inherited when elected is not "fit for purpose" but will be replaced by a yet-to-be-built facility.
TV footage of teenagers being tear-gassed, spit-hooded and shackled at Don Dale prompted a Royal Commission two years ago.
The NT government has committed $229 million to implementing recommendations.
Community and Public Sector Union NT secretary Kay Densley said youth justice officers complain there are not enough consequences for bad behaviour such as the removal of privileges or a high security unit that no longer existed.
Ms Manison said the Territory Families department would assess whether it needed to change its procedures but there would be consequences for detainees as police investigated the riot.
Criminal Lawyers Association NT president Marty Aust said Don Dale was a "death trap" that the youths should not be returning to.
The detainees that had not participated in the riot were afraid of the violent ringleaders identified by authorities, he said, and parents had a right to expect the NT government would provide a safe facility where detainees could not climb on roofs or light fires.
"The CLANT has grave concerns about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child being complied with ... do we need someone to die whether its a worker or a child?" Mr Aust said.
A protest in Alice Springs organised by the Strong Grandmothers of the Central Desert Region and Shut Youth Prisons groups said on Friday detainees should instead be released and "returned to country" to do local programs with indigenous elders.
Australian Associated Press