Eileen DiNino: Sentenced to Death for Being Poor

Eileen DiNino: Sentenced to Death for Being Poor

Eileen DiNino, a 55 year old mother of 7 was found dead in a jail cell in Berks County, PA.  Ms. DiNino was serving a 2 day sentence for failure to pay $2,000 in fines for truancy.

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.

He described her as “a lost soul,” and questioned Pennsylvanian laws that criminalize such lapses as truancy or failing to pay a trash bill.

“This lady didn’t need to be there,” Patton said. “We don’t do debtors prisons anymore. That went out 100 years ago.”

Ms. DiNino is just one of thousands of people in poverty who are issued death sentences everyday by the American Unjustice System.  Her story is well known to us mothers in poverty who struggle to keep it all together. Instead of stepping in and trying to help this woman who was obviously overwhelmed and doing the best she could, she was taken to court and fined.  On top of the fines they added court costs, fees and interest and the debt just kept piling up with no end in site.  The only option Ms. DiNino could see was doing 2 days in jail to wipe out this debt she could never pay.

In order to pay off $2,000 in fines a person making minimum wage would have to work 300 hours.

Ms. DiNino’s story is our story and that could very easily be any one of us found dead in a jail cell for being poor.



2 Responses

  1. Evelyn says:

    They say it takes a village to raise a child. Where was Ms. DiNino’s village? Did anyone bother to investigate why her children were not attending school? Maybe they were sick and she couldn’t afford to take them to the doctor to get a note. Maybe they were terrorized and bullied at school because their mother couldn’t afford to buy them the “right” clothes or shoes. Maybe their teachers singled them out as the “poor kids” or “bad kids” so they felt ostracized by the entire education system and felt they were doomed to always live a life of poverty with no hope of escape ever coming from attaining an education. Maybe the children had an undiagnosed learning disability, maybe, maybe, maybe……… we may never know the reason. Like most truancy cases, no one is really interested in finding out the reason behind that child’s absences or trying to alleviate the problem. They are only interested in punishing the parents because we all know that poor parents are bad parents and must be punished by the system for even having the audacity to become parents in the first place. Bad parents raise bad kids and its our capitalist free market society’s goal to weed out the bad (poor) and encourage the good (wealthy).

  2. A Poor Mama says:

    This woman basically got a life sentence for being poor. It’s no joke when we say they are trying to kill us. If she had money to pay off her fines this would have never happened. Another death by poverty courtesy of the unjustice system.

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