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Thu Jun 12, 2014, 10:46 AM

Impoverished Mother Dies In Jail Cell Over Unpaid Fines For Her Kids Missing School

Last edited Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:40 AM - Edit history (1)

Source: Think Progress

By Alan Pyke June 12, 2014 at 9:25 am Updated: June 12, 2014 at 9:33 am

A mother of seven died in a Pennsylvania jail over the weekend while serving a two-day sentence. Eileen DeNino, 55, was put in the cell where she died because she could not pay thousands of dollars in fines relating to her children’s truancy from schools in the Reading, PA area.

The cause of DeNino’s death is not yet known, but investigators “found no evidence that the death was suspicious,” according to the Eagle. She was reportedly on medication for high blood pressure and other health issues. “Prison officials said they issued no medication to DeNino before her death,” however.

DeNino had been cited 55 times since 1999, according to the Reading Eagle. On top of the individual fines for truancy, the Pennsylvania courts applied a variety of fees that amplified DeNino’s debt. “DiNino’s court file shows a laundry list of court fees for one case alone: $8 for a ‘judicial computer project’; $60 for Berks County constables; $10 for postage,” the Associated Press writes.

The two judges who preside over truancy cases in the county where the DeNinos live expressed regret and frustration over DeNino’s death. “She didn’t have a job. She was living in a house owned by a family member. She was on welfare. We sat and talked for a long time in my office and I could see that she couldn’t pay the fines,” Reading District Judge Wally Scott told the Eagle. “I cleared all her cases last year.”

District Judge Dean R. Patton sentenced DeNino to 48 hours in jail after she failed to produce documentary evidence of her inability to pay the more than $2,000 in accrued fines and fees. The sentence could have been as long as 45 days of jail time. “I bent over backwards for this woman,” Patton told the Eagle, “but I can’t just dismiss her cases without justification.”


Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/06/12/3448105/mother-dies-jail-cell-fines/



This one really is something. I had not read about this before. It really turns my stomach ..
....right here in the good old USA...

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Reply Impoverished Mother Dies In Jail Cell Over Unpaid Fines For Her Kids Missing School (Original post)
Stuart G Jun 2014 OP
Horse with no Name Jun 2014 #1
WovenGems Jun 2014 #24
sakabatou Jun 2014 #31
Dustlawyer Jun 2014 #38
FarPoint Jun 2014 #42
4Q2u2 Jun 2014 #2
Fantastic Anarchist Jun 2014 #13
Raphael Campos Jun 2014 #41
dem in texas Jun 2014 #3
awoke_in_2003 Jun 2014 #19
daleanime Jun 2014 #28
burnsei sensei Jun 2014 #46
catbyte Jun 2014 #4
Stuart G Jun 2014 #5
Beacool Jun 2014 #6
Massacure Jun 2014 #7
Kelvin Mace Jun 2014 #8
Fantastic Anarchist Jun 2014 #14
sulphurdunn Jun 2014 #15
Name removed Jun 2014 #23
heaven05 Jun 2014 #16
TiredOfNo Jun 2014 #21
surrealAmerican Jun 2014 #36
davidthegnome Jun 2014 #29
yeoman6987 Jun 2014 #32
DebJ Jun 2014 #37
demigoddess Jun 2014 #51
burnsei sensei Jun 2014 #47
yeoman6987 Jun 2014 #48
DebJ Jun 2014 #53
Mnemosyne Jun 2014 #9
Orrex Jun 2014 #10
jwirr Jun 2014 #11
Fantastic Anarchist Jun 2014 #12
sulphurdunn Jun 2014 #17
Fantastic Anarchist Jun 2014 #26
MosheFeingold Jun 2014 #39
sulphurdunn Jun 2014 #40
BumRushDaShow Jun 2014 #18
Divernan Jun 2014 #20
6000eliot Jun 2014 #22
dembotoz Jun 2014 #25
handmade34 Jun 2014 #34
davidthegnome Jun 2014 #27
daleanime Jun 2014 #30
woo me with science Jun 2014 #43
Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2014 #33
liberalhistorian Jun 2014 #49
Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2014 #50
kristopher Jun 2014 #35
woo me with science Jun 2014 #44
Stuart G Jun 2014 #52
RobinA Jun 2014 #45

Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 10:49 AM

1. "We have no idea why she died...only that it isn't our fault" (paraphrased)

"She was reportedly on medication for high blood pressure and other health issues. “Prison officials said they issued no medication to DeNino before her death,” however. "

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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:17 PM

24. Yep

When things go horribly wrong CYA!!!!!

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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:32 PM

31. Medical negligence.

I hope they get sued.

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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 06:14 PM

38. That's the part that really got to me, although the rest is bad enough.

This is not the 1st or 2nd time I have read of someone dying because the jailers did not give their charges their medication. If I ever go to jail (perish the thought) I would be in a world of trouble if I did not get my meds either!
Utterly senseless death!

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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 08:04 PM

42. Medical is suppose to monitor anyone with high blood pressure.

When a new inmate is booked in, medical does an assessment wherein the intake history notes any medical conditions or detects any clinical abnormalities like elevated BP. There are standard house orders for initial elevated BP...and a physician is just a phone call away to secure orders. Apparently these basic standards were omitted.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 10:58 AM

2. Simply Disgusting

Nice Priorities we have here.
\

Taxpayers Picking Up Rehab Bill for ‘Affluenza’ Teen Who Killed 4 While Driving Drunk


Read more: http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=242364#ixzz34RPYSqap

If the parents are paying only $1,170 per month and the cost is actually $715 per day taxpayers are subsidizing $20,280 per month of the wealthy family’s bill–and paying for the disgusting actions of a teenager who, as of yet, has not learned to take responsibility for his actions. In other words, the parents are only paying for about two days per month for his treatment at the lavish North Texas State Hospital

Read more: http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=242364#ixzz34RPdprvR

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Response to 4Q2u2 (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:53 PM

13. I thought of that exact case when reading this story.

It's absolutely disgusting.

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Response to 4Q2u2 (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 07:28 PM

41. +1 nt

 

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:16 AM

3. USA is returning to the Dark Age debtor prison?

There is more and more of this happening all over the US. This one is an extreme example. Why couldn't she have done community service to work off her fines? I read somewhere that this is because of the "For Profit/Private" jails that are taking over in so many areas. My ex-daughter-in-law who is bi-polar, was jailed for several charges like shop-lifting and driving drunk. She was allowed to work off her sentence by taking some classes and doing community service. She also got medical treatment for her bi-polar condition.

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Response to dem in texas (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:08 PM

19. do the working poor

 

even have time for community service. When I was younger I was working six days a week and usually 16 hours a day (two jobs). I barely had time to eat.

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Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #19)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:25 PM

28. More time then money....

why do you think their(we) are called working 'poor'.

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Response to dem in texas (Reply #3)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 02:05 PM

46. This case is very, very Dickensian.

All I could think of was Victorian England, and the moral deficits everywhere in the society.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:21 AM

4. 21st Century debtor's prison

Despicable. NOBODY should serve jail time for owing money. Being in debt is not a crime. Goddamnit.

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Response to catbyte (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:25 AM

5. I agree with you completely, but some people obviously do not.

And the judge who put her in jail could have continued the case till she brought in evidence of her poverty. Perhaps the asshole judge could have talked to the other judge. He seemed to understand poverty somewhat better..eh

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:33 AM

6. Great, now the kids don't have a mother.

Their truancy rate is now going to be close to 100%.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:40 AM

7. 48 hours in jail in exchange for $2000? That's $41 an hour.

It seems to me like the judge gave this lady a more than fair deal. The question I have is why she died. The corrections system may have failed her, but the court system did not.

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Response to Massacure (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:54 AM

8. Gosh...

 

If only she could get a job that paid that well. Maybe she should have opened her own jail?

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:55 PM

14. I wonder if it was a private jail.

Seems to be a lot of that going around.

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Response to Massacure (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:57 PM

15. I agree.

 

The current judicial system did not fail her because that system is about process and not justice. That needs to change.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #15)


Response to Massacure (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:58 PM

16. ?????

 

to even think it much less to even say it......disgusting

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Response to Massacure (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:12 PM

21. The forty-eight hours would not have relieved her of her debt.

The $2000 debt would still have been due. She was put in jail to "teach her a lesson." She has to pay her fines and not having a job or any money is not an excuse.....

We are really are a sick nation.

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Response to TiredOfNo (Reply #21)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:58 PM

36. very, very sick.

It wouldn't even surprise me if they charge her children for those fines now.

Welcome to DU.

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Response to Massacure (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:29 PM

29. You can't possibly be serious.

Have you ever been in any amount of debt? Is it something that you feel we should jail people over? I can't believe someone on DU actually said this.

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Response to Massacure (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:33 PM

32. The main question never answered

 

Why did her children not go to school? That would be helpful to know since that is the original reason for the fine and the two-day jail time and ultimately her death.

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Response to yeoman6987 (Reply #32)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 03:51 PM

37. I'm curious about that and one other thing also.

Why have seven children when you can't feed six or five or four or three or two?
Feeding and schooling the two children I had was extremely difficult to do on my own.
To have had another child would have been cruel and irresponsible to the first two
(who I had while married to a man who later kind of lost his mind). Children aren't something
one collects like books or butterflies. They have needs.

If you can't even feed them, how in the world are you going to attend to their schooling?

If this was 1950 I wouldn't ask that question.

I just don't understand.

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Response to DebJ (Reply #37)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 02:41 AM

51. why have seven children?

one day it will be because the republicans have done away with birth control, and abortion, if not already.

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Response to yeoman6987 (Reply #32)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 02:06 PM

47. And what if it was just garden-variety stubborness on their part?

nt

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Response to burnsei sensei (Reply #47)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 03:02 PM

48. As the adult,.....

 

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Response to burnsei sensei (Reply #47)

Mon Jun 16, 2014, 10:34 AM

53. Teaching children to respect and desire and enjoy being educated

is a lifelong perspective and process that begins at birth. It's not something that just happens,
not with so many children refusing to go. That is reflecting the culture the parent established, or
helped to establish.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:25 PM

9. Welcome to PA. nt

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:29 PM

10. Well, that'll teach her.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:37 PM

11. Is there any of the old system in this country that still works? Where are her eight children now? I

am betting they are going to cost the state way more than $2000 a month to care for now. And more than likely these eight children will blame the state for what happened to their mother with good reason. Great going PA.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:52 PM

12. It's a capital crime to be poor in the USA.

Dead from debtor's prison.

Unbelievable.

Un-fucking-believable.

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #12)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:58 PM

17. Very few if any rich people

 

are ever gunned down or beaten to death by the police.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #17)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:21 PM

26. Capitalism encourages that the wealthy are safe ...

... and protected from criminal charges.

It encourages a war on the poor.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #17)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 06:22 PM

39. Yet

After the armed SWAT teams get enough practice on the poor, they'll move on to bigger fish to rob.

I am a more-or-less retired lawyer.

I've had plenty of wealthy clients have property confiscated by various police agencies simply because the police wanted it or they pissed off the wrong city council member.

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Response to MosheFeingold (Reply #39)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 07:23 PM

40. We're headed for a society

 

Where fewer big fish eat more small ones.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:09 PM

20. More staggering examples from a year long NPR investigation.

Thousands of people have been jailed over truancy fines in the county since 2000, and two in three of those jailed have been women, according to the AP. But the criminalization of poverty is a much broader national phenomenon, with court costs and fees magnifying the statutory penalties for a variety of minor infractions such that the financial penalty snowballs into an unpayable debt for low-income people.

The results, as catalogued in a year-long National Public Radio investigation, are staggering: a 19-year-old jailed for three days after catching a smallmouth bass during rock bass season, because he couldn’t pay the fine; a homeless man sentenced to a year in jail over $2,600 in penalties incurred by shoplifting a $2 can of beer; a recovering drug user sent to jail three times for being unable to make payments on nearly $10,000 in court costs.

Criminal justice reform advocates and civil rights groups say these practices amount to a revival of the sort of “debtor’s prisons” that are supposed to be a relic of Colonial-era history. At the federal level, jailing someone for unpaid debt has been illegal since the 1830s. A Supreme Court decision 30 years ago reaffirmed that judges must determine that an offender is able to pay overdue fines before jailing her, but some states appear to be breaking with that requirement.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:13 PM

22. Well that's a happy ending for all concerned.

Isn't there a better way to get the kids to school?

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:20 PM

25. had experience this past year with a child who at times did not show up at school....

making sure the kid is in school every day is harder than you think

turned out ok
kid graduated this past weekend.....

would not have liked to spend time in jail because he decided to skip
would not have been happy at all

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #25)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:55 PM

34. I understand...

my youngest hated school for awhile

I never made him go when he didn't want to...

but.... he graduated from college with dual degree a couple years ago and is now working at a great place in Alaska for the summer with a great future ahead of him...

it would have been a shame to punish anyone

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:23 PM

27. My debt keeps me up at night.

Over ten thousand in student loans, over twelve in medical, ten for a car, and more recently, two thousand owed to repair that same car (which I can't get back until I can pay it).

Being in debt sucks enough with just the reality of it. I realize that I borrowed money which I have to repay for school - but it would be nice if I could find a job that paid enough money to do that - eight dollars an hour doesn't go very far, even full time. Living with my parents at thirty can be kind of depressing, but in this economy, in this society, I must consider myself blessed to have a place to live at all. To not be starving, or living on the streets, or working in some prison.

My situation can be ugly some times - but this? This goes beyond ugly, it goes beyond terrible, I'm not sure there's really a word to describe it. In the great United States of America, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, a woman was imprisoned because she could not pay two thousand dollars in fines. Two thousand dollars. It's a lot of money for people like me, but it's not that much for someone like a judge, is it?

In prison - and now dead, because she couldn't pay two thousand dollars in truancy fines - that is, a system of mandatory (enforced) education. Her children have now lost their mother. This is our justice system? This shit happens in America? We can spend a billion dollars in a super pac to elect one politician over another, but a woman who can't pay two thousand dollars in truancy fines has to go to jail? What the fuck? Did we go to sleep and wake up in another Country? Have we reverted to the dark ages? Do Mitt Romney and his ilk now rule the world?

This story needs to be everywhere, read by everyone - so that we can see just how sick this Country has become.

There aren't words for this.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #27)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:29 PM

30. Amen....

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #27)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 08:00 AM

43. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Thank you, david.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:38 PM

33. Did she say, "I'm dying for a cigarette!"?

 

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #33)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 07:59 PM

49. WTF is that

supposed to mean??????????

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Response to liberalhistorian (Reply #49)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:02 PM

50. Have you ever smoked? I really believe that metabolic stress could do it.

 

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Response to kristopher (Reply #35)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 08:01 AM

44. Thank you for posting this.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #35)

Mon Jun 16, 2014, 05:11 AM

52. Thank You for posting so many links..

I just read this one, and am totally disgusted by the judges that made decisions that sent people to jail.. almost unbelievable ...

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313118629/supreme-court-ruling-not-enough-to-prevent-debtors-prisons

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 12:05 PM

45. I Read the Thread

title and I thought, Only in PA. Sure enough...

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