SALEM, Ore. - The outgoing director of the Oregon Department of Corrections says he wishes he didn't have to oversee an execution during his final month on the job. Max Williams plans to leave the position at the end of December, a few weeks after Oregon's first scheduled execution in more than a decade.
Williams was appointed head of Oregon's prison system in 2004. During his nearly eight years on the job the inmate population expanded rapidly thanks in part to Oregon's mandatory sentencing laws.
He's taking a job as head of the Oregon Community Foundation, a non-profit charity. But before he leaves the Department of Corrections, Williams is scheduled to supervise what would be Oregon's first execution since 1997.
Two-time killer Gary Haugen has dropped his appeals and is slated to die by lethal injection on December 6th. Williams says he hoped he wouldn't have to oversee an execution as Corrections director.
"At the same time, when you take the oath to support both the Constitution and the laws of the state, you understand that that comes with the job and that's part of your ultimate responsibility," he says.
A spokesman for Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says the governor hopes to have an interim director of the agency in place by the time Williams leaves next month.
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