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Woman dies in prison, jailed 48-hrs for school fines: 'Was she scared to death?'

Woman who died in prison serving a 48-hour sentence for unpaid truancy fines her kids racked up, her death is deemed, "not suspicious"? How can that be?
Woman who died in prison serving a 48-hour sentence for unpaid truancy fines her kids racked up, her death is deemed, "not suspicious"? How can that be?Wikimedia Commons

A mother of seven children died in a prison cell, she was doing a 48-hour prison sentence for unpaid truancy fines racked up by her kids, which dated back to 1990. A single mother with seven kids probably had all she could do to feed her brood, never mind paying outrageous fines that totaled over $2,000 with court costs. It was known in the court that this woman was poor.

The woman’s death is not considered suspicious, but that isn’t sitting right with some folks today. In an opinion piece by the Digital Journal, they ask how this death isn’t considered suspicious? The woman is in jail for 48-hours and she is found dead half-way through her sentence dead.

Even the judge in the case, who admittedly has lost sleep over sentencing this woman, asked “What happened? Was she scared to death?” Judge Patton said he was uncomfortable sentencing Eileen DiNino, 55, to prison for the two days, but he did anyway.

The judge is quoted as saying that they did away with debtors’ prison, so why is this woman going to jail? She was poor and had no money, her kids “ruled the roost” said the judge. Why is this Pennsylvania law still on the books? This sounds like a third-world country’s way of doing business, not anywhere in America. As Digital Journal puts it, this is debtors' prison, they just call it something else today.

Digital Journal asks a question that needs to be answered: “How does a woman mysteriously die of an unknown cause 24 hours into a 48-hour sentence related to unpaid fines and this is not considered suspicious?” This poor woman dealt with some unruly children and even the judge said she was a good mother, it is just that the "kids ruled the roost." The latest truancy fines were from her two teenagers going to a technical school, or rather not showing up at school.

On Saturday morning DiNino was found dead in her cell. Was this a natural death, she wasn’t elderly? While the officials in charge of jailing this woman don’t consider the death suspicious, a lot of other folks do and they are asking questions about this death online today. While some have voiced their opinion that DiNino should have paid the fines and she wouldn't have been in jail. That sounds like an opinion from someone who has never struggled to put food on the table.

Hopefully this incident has the state officials taking a second look at these archaic laws that put the woman into prison in the first place. Then an investigation into the woman’s death is without a doubt something that needs to happen.