A unit once used to confine violent or disruptive patients at the North Dakota State Hospital was closed days before a penitentiary inmate with a record of multiple assaults attacked a hospital housekeeper.

That attack, on March 29, resulted in facial fractures, lacerations and dental injuries to the housekeeper and charges of attempted murder and two counts of felony assault by the patient-inmate, Jason Benefiel.

The confinement unit, called intensive care by state hospital staff and administrators, was closed on March 20 because of “accreditation survey requirements” by The Joint Commission, which temporarily withheld its seal of approval for the hospital as deficiencies were resolved.

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