December 14, 2021

Grant for Windows in the Walls

The Vital Projects at Proteus Fund, a donor advised fund interested in human rights and criminal justice reform, has recently awarded Associate Professor of History Reiko Hillyer’s project an additional $25,000 of research support. Dr. Hillyer’s project, “Windows in the Walls: The Permeability of the Prison in the 20th Century United States” explores the “thickening” of prison walls in the post-World War II period and demonstrates that the U.S. prison was relatively permeable until the 1990s. As Dr. Hillyer explains, “throughout the twentieth century, even the harshest prison systems in the United States were rather porous; incarcerated people were regularly released from prison for Christmas holidays, to play concerts, to visit sick relatives, and to participate in professional boxing matches.” Addressing historical gubernatorial clemency, visitation, furlough, and the normalization of isolation, Dr. Hillyer’s book will examine the increasing insulation of prisoners and separation from society.

Funding will allow Dr. Hillyer to complete her book manuscript. Dr. Hillyer has successfully applied for other competitive funding related to this project–including but is not limited to Proteus funding in 2018, a 2017 Whiting Foundation grant, a 2017 Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a 2020 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Association, and an Oregon Community Foundation grant earlier this year.