Fifty-five-year-old Eileen DiNino died in a Berks County jail last weekend. DiNino’s crime -- failure to pay fines racked up by her son’s truancy. She was in jail because her son didn’t go to school.
The guy that threw her in jail, District Judge Dean R. Patton, told the Reading Eagle, “This woman should not have died alone in prison … Our ultimate goal is not to fine people or put them in jail, but that is the only tool the Legislature has given us when people can’t afford to pay.”
Hundreds of parents, some impoverished and overwhelmed, have been jailed in Pennsylvania for failing to pay court fines that arise from truancy hearings after their children skip school, creating what some call a “debtor’s prison.”