1/24 Irondale Screening & Community Conversation

Incorrigibles: Breaking the Cycle of Girls’ Incarceration in New York

by Vera Institute of Justice and Incorrigibles

On Wednesday, January 24, please join Incorrigibles and The Vera Institute for Justice for a screening, panel and community conversation at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn. The history of the New York State Training School for Girls and the lives of the young women incarcerated there will serve as a jumping off point for a broader discussion about the circumstances leading girls into the justice system today. Incorrigibles is looking forward to hosting this event and participating in a post-panel conversation with the audience.


Running away from home. Fighting with parents. Staying out late. When it comes to girls, these everyday adolescent behaviors can earn them the label of “incorrigible” and often lead to an arrest, a court date, or even being locked up in a facility.

Arresting girls for “incorrigible” or “defiant” behavior is not new. Girls, and especially LGB/GNCT youth and girls of color, have long been criminalized for defying and resisting circumstances no child should experience—including physical or sexual abuse, commercial sexual exploitation and survival sex, and neglect.

As the country engages in a national dialogue around racism, sexism and misogyny, and the convergence of these harsh realities in the lives of girls of color— looking closely at why girls end up in the justice systems has new urgency. The Vera Institute of Justice is focused on ending girls’ incarceration, working closely with New York City to design a comprehensive plan that keeps girls out of the system entirely.

Because of our mission, we are excited to partner with artist Alison Cornyn to showcase her most recent work, Incorrigibles. With support from BRIC Arts Media, the Theo Westenberger Estate, the National Endowment For The Humanities, and others, this multimedia project tells the stories of ‘incorrigible’ girls in New York State over the last 100 years. Drawing on personal narratives, Cornyn’s work investigates juvenile justice and social services through archival documents from the New York State Training School for Girls, sharing accounts of women alive today who were confined there in the 1960s and 70s. Their stories are hauntingly similar to what we know still happens today.

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Please join us for a special screening of an excerpt of the Incorrigibles film, a panel discussion and community conversation at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn. Light refreshments will be served.

Featured speakers include:

  • Brittany Brathwaite, Youth Engagement Specialist and member of New York City Task Force on Ending Girls’ Incarceration
  • Gladys Carrion, Former Commissioner of NYS Office of Children and Family Services and NYC ACS
  • Kathleen Hulser, Public Historian
  • Shabnam Javdani, Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU
  • Lillian Perez, Youth Liaison for Incorrigibles

Before and after the panel, attendees will have a chance to see life-size installations of archival photos documenting girls who were housed at the Training School. We’re encouraging attendees to take photos and share them online with their social media networks using the hashtags #incorrigiblegirls #endgirlsincarceration. Together, we can help raise awareness for why girls matter – both in New York City and across the country.

Funding for this event generously provided in part by Humanities New York, the Brooklyn Arts Council, and New York Foundation for the Arts.