Woman Jailed Over Children’s Truancy Dies In Cell

READING, Pa. (August 14, 2014) Eileen DiNino, 55, of Reading, Pa., a mother of seven who was jailed after failing to pay fines stemming from her children's school truancy, has died of natural causes while in her cell, the Berks County coroner's office said Thursday.

DiNino's high blood pressure contributed to heart failure and fluid in her lungs also was a factor, the autopsy report says.

DiNino was found dead in a cell June 7, halfway through a two-day sentence ordered after she failed to pay about $2,000 in truancy fines and court costs accrued since 1999.

District Judge Dean Patton said he reluctantly sent DiNino to jail after she failed to pay the money.

He described her as "a lost soul" and questioned laws criminalizing such lapses as truancy or failing to pay trash bills.

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