Are Debtor’s Prisons Coming Back?

Impoverished Mother Dies in Jail Cell Over Unpaid Fines for Her Kids Missing School

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.

So now 7 kids have no mother. How does this help?

This story is just outrageous and maybe the tip of the iceberg.

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.

It’s always 1830 somewhere I guess.

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