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Charly Haley, Forum News Service, Published July 31 2013

Jamestown prison guard home after being hospitalized in inmate attack

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – The Jamestown prison guard who was hospitalized after being attacked by an inmate Sunday is now home, and the inmate accused in the attack has been transferred to a higher security prison.

Guard Jeremiah MacDonald was released from the hospital Monday, said James River Correctional Center Warden Don Redmann.

“He’s home now and doing as well as can be expected,” Redmann said.

Shawn Ostafin, who allegedly attacked MacDonald, has been transferred to the North Dakota State Penitentiary in Bismarck, Redmann said. The State Penitentiary is a maximum security prison, and the Jamestown facility is medium security.

Ostafin physically assaulted MacDonald about 1:10 p.m. Sunday in one of the correctional center's dormitories, said Capt. Bryan Niewind of the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

MacDonald was taken by air ambulance to a Bismarck hospital with severe head injuries, Niewind said. Redmann could not comment on MacDonald’s medical condition as of Wednesday afternoon.

Niewind said Ostafin will face felony charges, but the exact charges have not been determined, partly because authorities are still waiting to see the extent of MacDonald’s injuries.

No one else was involved in the incident, and Ostafin was not injured, Niewind said.

According to Jamestown Sun archives, MacDonald was declared JRCC’s employee of the month in April. MacDonald worked at the State Penitentiary for four years and then transferred to JRCC.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol is tasked with all incidents at the James River Correctional Center, Niewind said. In his 13 years with the patrol, he said this is the first time he can remember a correctional officer needing an air ambulance after an incident at the prison.

Redmann said it’s difficult to compare different incidents at the prison, saying only that what happened Sunday “was really unfortunate.”

The incident is still under investigation by both highway patrol and JRCC.

The Associated Press reported that Ostafin, formerly of Mandan, has a violent criminal history. He served a lengthy sentence for the 1990 murders of his father and stepfather and is now serving time for terrorizing.