Steven Banks, the man police hold responsible for Tuesday night’s assault in McClellan Hall, has a history of criminal activity on Yale’s campus, a state Judicial Department spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Yale police arrested Banks, 39, of New Haven, about five years ago after he pulled a knife on someone in the Yale campus area and demanded the person’s money, Judicial Department spokeswoman Rhonda Stearley-Hebert said in an e-mail. It is not known if the victim was a Yale student.
Banks was convicted of second-degree robbery and third-degree burglary, and was sentenced on Sept. 19, 1997, to 10 years in prison. He was released after five years on a suspended sentence and given three years’ probation.
On Tuesday night, Banks allegedly broke into a suite in McClellan Hall where he assaulted and robbed several residents — all annexed Branford students.
Banks then fell four stories while trying to escape police, after he attempted to jump from a McClellan Hall gutter to the scaffolding surrounding Vanderbilt Hall.
Banks was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he was in critical condition as of Thursday night, a hospital spokesperson said.
He faces nearly a dozen felony charges including assault, robbery, burglary, and larceny.
Following his 1997 conviction, Banks was arrested Aug. 17, 2002 for a probation violation he committed in April of that year, Stearley-Hebert said. However, his case was disposed of in September, and Banks’ probation was continued.
Currently, offenders are administered a test designed to predict their likelihood of committing another crime. Based on the results of this test, criminals are assigned an appropriate form of probationary supervision.
At the time of Banks’ 1997 sentencing, this system was not in place.
On Sept. 20, 2002, the Judicial Department’s Intake, Assessment, and Referral Unit received Banks’ case and made an appointment with him to take the risk prediction test. Five days later, Banks came in but was turned away since he was not scheduled to take the test that day.
He was finally given an appointment for Oct. 21, 2002.
Students were invited to a Wednesday night meeting at the Trumbull College Master’s House to discuss Tuesday night’s incident with security personnel, counselors from University Health Services, and University Chaplain Frederick Streets.
Freshman counselor Greg Hendrickson ’03 said he was not surprised that Banks evidently did not adjust well to society after being released from prison.
“[The prison system’s] not usually very effective in preparing people to go back and live in society,” Hendrickson said. Hendrickson said he believes released convicts are offered “very little transitional help.”