Incorrigibles is an art project that makes visible the stories and histories of young women who were incarcerated at the New York State Training School for Girls from 1904-1974. These stories are of particular importance due to the lasting injustices and trauma young women in this country are subjected to on a regular basis. Incorrigibles investigates the developments and changes, both linguistic and penal, in young women’s incarceration over the last century. By outlining that trajectory, Incorrigibles reflects on issues of race and class that have contributed to the marginalization of young women’s voices in America. This project asks how women who were affected by this history as well as today’s youth can become more active in the politics and education with regard to youth justice.
Ultimately, Incorrigibles will serve as an artistic mirror and a witnessing of American society’s perceptions, for over a century, of what it deems punishable and offensive when it comes to the lives and behavior of young women — and what can be done to change things now.