Following 10 years of service in the State and Federal prison systems, Major Lawson began her career in Corrections with the St. Joseph County Police Department in 2001. With her exceptional knowledge, experience, and dedication, she quickly progressed into a supervisory position with the rank of Sergeant. In 2003, she was selected as the first female Warden in St. Joseph County to attain the rank of Major.
With an immense passion for her job, Major Lawson is noted by administrators, peers, and support staff for her professionalism and commitment to her agency. In the many letters supporting her nomination, a number of character traits stand out. Coworkers wrote of integrity, honesty, professionalism, a strong work ethic, respect for staff and inmates, fairness, and leadership by example.
In addition to her excellent working relationship with staff and supervisors, Major Lawson has a good working relationship with her agency’s Homicide Unit as well as outside agencies such as the U.S. Marshals Service. The Commander of the Homicide Unit wrote in his letter: “Julie has earned the respect of everyone that she has come into contact with during the course of her job with her knowledge, decision-making, and communication skills. …I do not write letters such as this to be popular or pay back a favor. [She] has earned my respect, which is not an easy task. …Julie has earned the right to be called Correctional Administrator of the Year by performance and not by gender.”
A graduate of Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Major Lawson is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. She is also a Certified Jail Manager.