Judy Lazarus is a former VACRO CEO who began working with people in prison almost by accident.

Commencing at Pentridge Prison in 1983 on the recommendation of a friend who worked for VACRO, Ms Lazarus initially planned on staying for just a couple of months. Instead, she stayed with VACRO for 20 years, retiring in 2003 as CEO. During her time at VACRO, Ms Lazarus built strong, positive working relationships with Corrections Victoria and the corrections community, which led to the naming of the Judy Lazarus Transition Centre in 2007.

A move to Beechworth saw Ms Lazarus take on prison visitor positions at the Beechworth Correctional Centre and the role of manager of the Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre. Ms Lazarus established a successful community-based bookshop for the Centre, which sells donated books and runs vocational programs for people at the Beechworth Correctional Centre.

Ms Lazarus joined VACRO’s board in 2011 and was made a Life Member in 2016. In 2017, she was made a member in the general division of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List, in recognition of her significant contribution to community through social welfare and custodial resettlement.