Mother of 7 in jail because she couldn’t afford truancy fines found dead in cell

Mother of 7 in jail because she couldn’t afford truancy fines found dead in cell

A 55-year old mother of seven was found dead in her jail cell in a Pennsylvania jail on Saturday morning. Eileen DiNino of Reading, Pennsylvania was arrested and sent to prison for the weekend after she was unable to pay the 2,000 dollars in fines she received for her children’s truancy, according to WTRF News. State police say the mother of seven was found unresponsive in the Berks County Prison. The cause of death is still undetermined, and according to WFMZ, legislators are questioning how she died and why she was sent to jail in the first place.

“I cannot understand how someone ends up going to jail. They did not murder someone, they did not steal, they did not commit a felony. How does jail time equate to resolving this particular problem,” Senator Judy Schwank asked. “I have questions as well as what happened to the woman in prison. How did it happen that she passed away? Did she need medical attention and not receive it?” Reading Eagle reported that the mother was on medication for high blood pressure and prison officials issued no medication to DeNino.

The judge who sentenced DiNino explained that according to the law, it was the only option for erasing the fines the woman had accrued after her children had shipped school. The truancy fines had been accumulating since 1999. DiNino had 55 violations against her after her children missed numerous days of school. According to the judge, state law allows for five days in jail for each violation, so the sentence was lenient. “That unfortunately is part of the law in Pennsylvania and I think it is insanity. There has got to be a better way to deal with truancy than putting somebody in prison,” Christian Leinbach, the County commissioner, explained.

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