Artist and Researcher

Juvenile Justice: Project Uncaged


Juvenile Justice:

Tasha conducts trauma-informed creative writing workshops for young women in U.S. juvenile detention and rehab facilities — a population often underserved and underheard by a system designed for males. Unlike young men, young women are mostly arrested for running away, truancy, and substance use: 3 of the most common symptoms of abuse. Young women are also more likely than young men to have been victims of sexual assault and to suffer from mental illness. Unfortunately, the juvenile justice system struggles to adequately or equitably meet their needs.

In response, Tasha's research-based curriculum, "Project Uncaged," offers creative programming while also forging opportunities for girls to inform local decisions. The arts-based approach uniquely amplifies young women’s stories, voices, and needs, with an eye toward increasing gender equity and improving local resources for teen girls.

In 2017, Golden's "Project Uncaged" partnered with international literary publisher Sarabande Books, the University of Louisville's Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky, and Metro Louisville's Youth Detention Services (YDS) to provide programming for detained girls while advancing their voices in the community. Our first YDS anthology was published by Sarabande in Fall 2017, available online and at local bookstores. The book was also mailed with customized action recommendations to local judges, the Mayor's office, local and state legislators, and community leaders.

Beginning January 2018, the partnership has offered twice-weekly workshops for girls in Louisville's Youth Detention. These will result in more anthologies (forthcoming from Sarabande!), evaluation by the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky, and analyses of girls' writing to help the city recognize the assets and needs of Louisville's justice-involved girls. 

We're grateful for support from the Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research, The Community Foundation of Louisville, and The Awesome Foundation of Louisville. We're also grateful for Sarabande Books' funding support from Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, which makes our anthologies possible. We're working now to ensure longevity, so that as long as girls are incarcerated in Louisivlle, they will have access to research-based, trauma-informed programming that offers them a platform in their community. If you're interested in supporting this work, please get in touch.