After decades of stagnation, neglect and a focus on ‘subversive’ prisoners, the period 1958-72 is one of relatively radical change in Irish prison policy. The early period, from 1958 to 1964, witnessed developments in Irish prison policy that were unparalleled in terms of content and speed of implementation than at any time previously. For the first time since the foundation of the state there was a combination of legislative, administrative, philosophical and imaginative change within the system. As Osborough states, during this period ‘the forces insistent on action in the tackling of penal questions in the state did finally manage to coalesce. There was the pressure to make changes, and the political will to approve them’ (Osborough 1985: 184).