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Jesse's mom finally speaks out

October, 2011

Once a week I drive six hours - four of them through a largely-barren Arizona desert - in order that I can spend two hours a week with my son Jesse - the only two hours a week that visitors are allowed in at the prison. I cherish every second of those 120 minutes. It’s the return trip - when I leave my son to spend his time in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit - that is tough. Sometimes I lose hope that my son will be freed yet Jesse - who has never wavered in his innocence - rarely loses his optimism.


On those treasured visiting days, I always start early. I go to the grocery store and then come home to make and pack a lunch since there are no restaurants along the desert drive and even the cell phone reception is not available. 


I am lucky now. Up until July, 2011, all my visits with Jesse were separated by glass. It was a corridor of people and kids shouting, trying to talk to one another through a clear barrier, usually without the benefit of telephones. It’s a challenge to be heard. Now the prison building Jesse is in holds visiting hours in an open room where I can sit across from him at a table like a mother and son might normally do. But the building has been condemned so I am not sure how much longer we will be able to visit face to face, across a common table.


The best part of our time together is that I get to hug him when I arrive and hug him again when I leave. And throughout the visit, I try to stay upbeat but it’s usually Jesse who is the one really able to keep my spirits high. He is my therapy. He keeps me laughing – even when he has little reason to laugh. He is convinced his innocence will speak for itself and his appeal for justice will someday be heard. 

Jesse and Lorraine Brooks
Jesse and Lorraine Brooks

Jesse and Lorraine at a friend's wedding in 2004

Jesse and Lorraine at the Arizona prison in 2011

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