Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Criminalizing Poverty

[Two Deltona women face child neglect charges after they were found sleeping on the porch of a home because electricity had been cut off to the residence.

Sheren Ocasio Santiago, 27, and Crystal Karle, 24, also were charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and Karle was arrested on a warrant charging her with petty theft.

Volusia County deputy sheriffs were called to a home in the 2100 block of Van Orman Drive Saturday morning and found an electrical extension cord running to that house from an adjacent home.

They found the two women and three children sleeping on mattresses on the back porch of the house, according to arrest affidavits.

Kafrle, identified as the homeowner, told deputies she could not afford to pay the deposit for electrical service and electricity had been off for about a week. She said that without electricity, it was too hot to sleep inside.

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According to the arrest reports, there was an in-ground pool near where the children were sleeping with water that was green and murky. There was no barrier to keep the children, who ranged in age from 3 to 8, from falling into the pool, deputies said.

Deputies said they were overwhelmed by the smell of animal waste, which was visible on the floor of the patio.

Inside the home, according to the reports, deputies found prescription pills and two marijuana cigarettes within easy reach of the children. The only food they found was a package of bologna and a loaf of bread.

The state Department of Children and Families took custody of the children.],0,1869559.story

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