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Stuart G

(38,672 posts)
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:46 AM Jun 2014

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

Last edited Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:40 PM - 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...
53 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Impoverished Mother Dies In Jail Cell Over Unpaid Fines For Her Kids Missing School (Original Post) Stuart G Jun 2014 OP
"We have no idea why she died...only that it isn't our fault" (paraphrased) Horse with no Name Jun 2014 #1
Yep WovenGems Jun 2014 #24
Medical negligence. sakabatou Jun 2014 #31
That's the part that really got to me, although the rest is bad enough. Dustlawyer Jun 2014 #38
Medical is suppose to monitor anyone with high blood pressure. FarPoint Jun 2014 #42
Simply Disgusting 4Q2u2 Jun 2014 #2
I thought of that exact case when reading this story. Fantastic Anarchist Jun 2014 #13
+1 nt Raphael Campos Jun 2014 #41
USA is returning to the Dark Age debtor prison? dem in texas Jun 2014 #3
do the working poor awoke_in_2003 Jun 2014 #19
More time then money.... daleanime Jun 2014 #28
This case is very, very Dickensian. burnsei sensei Jun 2014 #46
21st Century debtor's prison catbyte Jun 2014 #4
I agree with you completely, but some people obviously do not. Stuart G Jun 2014 #5
Great, now the kids don't have a mother. Beacool Jun 2014 #6
48 hours in jail in exchange for $2000? That's $41 an hour. Massacure Jun 2014 #7
Gosh... Kelvin Mace Jun 2014 #8
I wonder if it was a private jail. Fantastic Anarchist Jun 2014 #14
I agree. sulphurdunn Jun 2014 #15
Message auto-removed Name removed Jun 2014 #23
????? heaven05 Jun 2014 #16
The forty-eight hours would not have relieved her of her debt. TiredOfNo Jun 2014 #21
very, very sick. surrealAmerican Jun 2014 #36
You can't possibly be serious. davidthegnome Jun 2014 #29
The main question never answered yeoman6987 Jun 2014 #32
I'm curious about that and one other thing also. DebJ Jun 2014 #37
why have seven children? demigoddess Jun 2014 #51
And what if it was just garden-variety stubborness on their part? burnsei sensei Jun 2014 #47
As the adult,..... yeoman6987 Jun 2014 #48
Teaching children to respect and desire and enjoy being educated DebJ Jun 2014 #53
Welcome to PA. nt Mnemosyne Jun 2014 #9
Well, that'll teach her. Orrex Jun 2014 #10
Is there any of the old system in this country that still works? Where are her eight children now? I jwirr Jun 2014 #11
It's a capital crime to be poor in the USA. Fantastic Anarchist Jun 2014 #12
Very few if any rich people sulphurdunn Jun 2014 #17
Capitalism encourages that the wealthy are safe ... Fantastic Anarchist Jun 2014 #26
Yet MosheFeingold Jun 2014 #39
We're headed for a society sulphurdunn Jun 2014 #40
Put a face on her BumRushDaShow Jun 2014 #18
More staggering examples from a year long NPR investigation. Divernan Jun 2014 #20
Well that's a happy ending for all concerned. 6000eliot Jun 2014 #22
had experience this past year with a child who at times did not show up at school.... dembotoz Jun 2014 #25
I understand... handmade34 Jun 2014 #34
My debt keeps me up at night. davidthegnome Jun 2014 #27
Amen.... daleanime Jun 2014 #30
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. woo me with science Jun 2014 #43
Did she say, "I'm dying for a cigarette!"? Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2014 #33
WTF is that liberalhistorian Jun 2014 #49
Have you ever smoked? I really believe that metabolic stress could do it. Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2014 #50
Learn More about this National Disgrace: NPR Series "Guilty and Charged" kristopher Jun 2014 #35
Thank you for posting this. woo me with science Jun 2014 #44
Thank You for posting so many links.. Stuart G Jun 2014 #52
I Read the Thread RobinA Jun 2014 #45

Horse with no Name

(33,977 posts)
1. "We have no idea why she died...only that it isn't our fault" (paraphrased)
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:49 AM
Jun 2014

"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. "

Dustlawyer

(10,504 posts)
38. That's the part that really got to me, although the rest is bad enough.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 07:14 PM
Jun 2014

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!

FarPoint

(12,934 posts)
42. Medical is suppose to monitor anyone with high blood pressure.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 09:04 PM
Jun 2014

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.

 

4Q2u2

(1,406 posts)
2. Simply Disgusting
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 11:58 AM
Jun 2014

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

dem in texas

(2,677 posts)
3. USA is returning to the Dark Age debtor prison?
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:16 PM
Jun 2014

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.

 

awoke_in_2003

(34,582 posts)
19. do the working poor
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:08 PM
Jun 2014

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.

burnsei sensei

(1,820 posts)
46. This case is very, very Dickensian.
Fri Jun 13, 2014, 03:05 PM
Jun 2014

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

catbyte

(34,844 posts)
4. 21st Century debtor's prison
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:21 PM
Jun 2014

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

Stuart G

(38,672 posts)
5. I agree with you completely, but some people obviously do not.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:25 PM
Jun 2014

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

Massacure

(7,541 posts)
7. 48 hours in jail in exchange for $2000? That's $41 an hour.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:40 PM
Jun 2014

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.

 

Kelvin Mace

(17,469 posts)
8. Gosh...
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 12:54 PM
Jun 2014

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

 

sulphurdunn

(6,891 posts)
15. I agree.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:57 PM
Jun 2014

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

Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #15)

TiredOfNo

(52 posts)
21. The forty-eight hours would not have relieved her of her debt.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:12 PM
Jun 2014

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.

surrealAmerican

(11,404 posts)
36. very, very sick.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 03:58 PM
Jun 2014

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

Welcome to DU.

davidthegnome

(2,983 posts)
29. You can't possibly be serious.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:29 PM
Jun 2014

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.

 

yeoman6987

(14,449 posts)
32. The main question never answered
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:33 PM
Jun 2014

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.

DebJ

(7,699 posts)
37. I'm curious about that and one other thing also.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 04:51 PM
Jun 2014

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.

demigoddess

(6,653 posts)
51. why have seven children?
Sat Jun 14, 2014, 03:41 AM
Jun 2014

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

DebJ

(7,699 posts)
53. Teaching children to respect and desire and enjoy being educated
Mon Jun 16, 2014, 11:34 AM
Jun 2014

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.

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
11. Is there any of the old system in this country that still works? Where are her eight children now? I
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 01:37 PM
Jun 2014

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.

Fantastic Anarchist

(7,309 posts)
26. Capitalism encourages that the wealthy are safe ...
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:21 PM
Jun 2014

... and protected from criminal charges.

It encourages a war on the poor.

MosheFeingold

(3,051 posts)
39. Yet
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 07:22 PM
Jun 2014

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.

Divernan

(15,480 posts)
20. More staggering examples from a year long NPR investigation.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:09 PM
Jun 2014
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.
 

dembotoz

(16,922 posts)
25. had experience this past year with a child who at times did not show up at school....
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:20 PM
Jun 2014

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

handmade34

(22,761 posts)
34. I understand...
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:55 PM
Jun 2014

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

davidthegnome

(2,983 posts)
27. My debt keeps me up at night.
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 02:23 PM
Jun 2014

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.

kristopher

(29,798 posts)
35. Learn More about this National Disgrace: NPR Series "Guilty and Charged"
Thu Jun 12, 2014, 03:53 PM
Jun 2014

Stuart G

(38,672 posts)
52. Thank You for posting so many links..
Mon Jun 16, 2014, 06:11 AM
Jun 2014

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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