A mom of seven was in a bad predicament. Her children had been truant from school and the fines were just too much for her to pay.
"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," said Reading District Judge Wally Scott. Another judge sentenced her to the pokey anyway.
She was on several medications, but apparently the prison didn't bother to give her any and she was found dead in her cell. Seven children are now without a mother.
Was it worth it?
Let's do Eileen DeNino's math: 55 truancy convictions happened since 1999. Ok, 15 years x about 180 school days a year = 2700. Now, all seven of her children wouldn't be going to school all at once since then (likely), so let's multiply that by just four. We get 10,800 school days. She has 55 truancy convictions. When you think about real working people? Put four of them together, and they're going to take more than 55 personal days out of 10,800 in 15 years. This conviction should have been thrown out just in the interest of fairness and compassion.
Besides, teachers get "personal days." Why can't students?
And now this woman is dead in her cell because she couldn't afford the unjust fines. We haven't heard the results of the autopsy... but I don't trust the coroner's office not to speak out loudly against the prison establishment or the schools or anyone else in government. We will never know if going to prison killed her. All I can say is that however it happened, it wasn't worth it.