It was with much sadness that New Bridge prisoners, volunteers, staff and trustees received news of Eric McGraw’s death on 18 April 2021. Many of us have fond memories of Eric as a larger than life character and raconteur who was a passionate champion of prisoners’ rights. Eric helped many prisoners to maintain precious contact with the outside world through visiting New Bridge befrienders, besides making sure that they were kept well-informed, and had a voice, in the pages of the prison newspaper he founded.

Eric was the director of New Bridge for some fifteen years (1987-2002)  and the inspiration for Inside Time, the newspaper for prisoners which New Bridge launched in December 1990 and which has been a huge success ever since. As Eric recalled, the reason for its launch was simple. "I went almost every day to the Lord Woolf Inquiry into the the Strangeways riots," he said, "and what came across very clearly was that prisoners did not feel they had a voice. So I contacted the Prison Service and asked if it would be interested in me setting up a newspaper for prisoners - to which the answer was yes." The first issue numbered 12,000 copies and was distributed to prisons, young offender institutions and special hospitals around the country. Today Inside Time has a print circulation of over 60,000 and thousands of visitors to its website every month.

Eric was also a keen supporter and member of the of the Inside Justice Advisory Panel, a charity conducting investigations on behalf of people who claim they have been wrongly convicted.

We, the volunteers, staff and trustees at New Bridge, including those prisoners and former prisoners who knew him, send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Svetlana, and his family. Eric leaves a very special legacy in the annals of New Bridge and the pages of Inside Time.