State corrections chief announces retirement - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

State corrections chief announces retirement

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- South Carolina Department of Corrections Director William R. Byars, Jr. announced Friday that he will retire at the end of September.

Byars has served as director of the SCDC since 2011, when he was nominated by Gov. Nikki Haley and confirmed by the state Senate.

"After many wonderful years in public service, I've decided that the time is right to finally slow down and enjoy more time with my family," said Byars.

Byars oversaw the reorganization of many state programs for inmates that shuttered some prisons and reallocated services to others.

Under Byars, the prison population has declined from 23,300 in 2011 to 22,000 across the state.

"I have had the pleasure of working under four governors in various capacities and have especially enjoyed my relationship with Governor Haley over the last three years. She has taken a particular interest in the Department of Corrections and has worked closely with us in helping make some much needed improvements to our facilities and equipment and in getting salary increases for correctional officers at our maximum security prisons," he said.

Byars commended the employees of the Department of Corrections for their efforts.

"The employees at SCDC have a tough, often dangerous job to do, and I have found them to be uniformly dedicated to the state and true public servants," he said. "I am very pleased with what we have been able to accomplish together and am confident that the momentum we have started will continue going forward."

Before taking the directorship at the SCDC, Byars served eight years as the head of the state's juvenile justice department. He has also served as a family court judge.

"Judge Byars' service to our state has been beyond exemplary and South Carolina is a better place because of it," said Haley. "His accomplishments at both the Department of Corrections and DJJ standout as models for instituting reform minded government that effectively and efficiently work for taxpayers. We will miss his tireless dedication and professionalism and wish him and his family the very best in all their future endeavors."

Haley has not announced a nominee to replace Byars.

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