COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Former Corrections Director Jon Ozmint has been given the state's highest award as he finishes eight years overseeing South Carolina's prisons.
Former Gov. Mark Sanford gave the Order of the Palmetto to Ozmint on Wednesday on the last day in office for both men.
Ozmint then spoke to his employees, thanking them for their support. He called his eight years as prison director the greatest honor and privilege of his professional life.
Ozmint says he told his successor, former Department of Juvenile Justice director Bill Byars, and new Gov. Nikki Haley that the Corrections Department cannot take any more budget cuts.
Ozmint is a lawyer and prosecuted cases for the State Grand Jury before taking over prisons. He hasn't announced what he is doing next.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)