Eileen DiNino, 55, of Reading, was found dead in her jail cell Saturday, DiNino the Reading, PA mother of 7, was sentenced to two days of jail time because of her children's truancy. The jail time would have erased $2,000 in accrued fines dating back to 1999.
DiNino checked into the jail on Friday to serve her two day sentence but when guards tried to get her up on Saturday they found her unresponsive. She was rushed to the hospital but could not be revived.
An autopsy was performed but was inconclusive. The coroner is waiting for toxicology reports to come back before issuing a cause of death.
DiNino's death has caused both a public and political outcry.
"Did something happen? Was she scared to death?" said District Judge Dean R. Patton, who reluctantly sent DiNino to the Berks County jail Friday after she failed to pay the debt for four years.
"I think the real issue that is highlighted is who belongs in prison. I find it absolutely egregious that in the 21st century, we are putting a mother behind bars because her children chose not to attend school," said Christian Leinbach, Berks County Commissioner and Prison Board Member to WFMZ a local television station.
One hope is that DiNino's death will spawn new truancy laws where the children are held more accountable than the parents. More than 1600 people have been jailed in Berks County because of their child's truancy.
Comments on WFMZ
"It is unbelievable that she was jailed because of her children not attending school and now she was found died.Instead of locking people up for truancy why not make the child if over 12 years old do community service instead of the parent getting locked up."
"However russ I know of people who personally take there kids watch them go in .... and after that they walk out another door to skip now the parent should still be the blame."
"Eileen was the worlds sweetest woman. She had 5 boys living with her. She could hand deliver them to school, whats going to stop them from walking out the back door or skipping their bus to vo-tech. What is else could she possibly do to make that happen? Beat them when they get home? Ground them?"
Watch WFMZ video.