A trip to "Island Academy" and a chat with Professor Steve Earle (seriously) is up next. Professor Earle says the brothers were his best students in twenty years teaching prison school, and says the boys' only crimes were "survival crimes" stealing for food or a place to sleep. "Doesn't help the victim, does it?" snarls Fin. Earle says he doesn't know where the boys are. "But once you read their files, you won't be so quick to judge them."
No, but they'll be quick to go into one of their patented squad room debates; Chester learns that the boys were shuffled in and out of foster homes -- nineteen of them, in total -- their entire lives. "The system didn't make them commit murder," says Fin. Olivia's sympathetic, and Fin inscrutably seems to be, pointing out that the boys were beaten at various stops. Cragen calls them "ticking time bombs," and Chester contends they were just kids who didn't have chance. "What are you, a social worker now?" says Elliot, adding, "Wait until you have a family of your own." Chester weirdly flies off the handle at this, demanding to know what Elliot means by that. Elliot says when Chester has a daughter Julie's age, he'll stop feeling sympathy for the mopes that killed her. Or maybe he'll still be interested in looking at the causes of crime instead of endlessly dealing with the effects, hey, Elliot? Chester gets even more upset at Elliot's implication that he doesn't care about the victim, and Cragen orders him to go cool off. "We keep it civil around here or you're gone."
Fin and Chester head over to the boys' biological mother's apartment in the projects, where the find she's found gainful employment in the world's oldest profession. The detectives throw out a pimp and a john and endure some attitude from Janelle Odami before they tell her they're here about her sons, and show her their mug shots. "My babies," she says.
Her attitude is back while she's in the holding cell, though, calling Fin "Uncle Tom." "Damn: white, black, I'm getting it from all sides," complains Fin to Chester, who is still smarting over the pimp, who thought he was a Mexican. Janelle starts yelling, "Run, baby!" and the detectives turn to see Jadon, who says he's there to turn himself in. "I killed that girl," he says. Sweet! Special half-hour SVU this week!
The detectives futilely grill Jadon about why he killed Julie, but he says he doesn't want to talk about it. Annoyed, Fin stomps off, leaving Chester alone to play good cop, but Jadon won't talk about Ezra, and won't talk deal. Fin comes back, dragging Janelle with him, saying he thought Jadon might want to say goodbye before she gets taken down to central booking. The detectives leave mother and son alone for the most depressing family reunion ever. A concerned Jadon asks his clearly strung-out mom how she's doing. "You know how it is, son," she says, lighting a cigarette. "Crackers got nothing better to do than mess with my broke ass. This heroin's got your mom by the soul, baby. Took me to places Jesus won't go." Well, at least she probably doesn't have crushingly high expectations of Jadon, now, does she? They hug, and Cragen marvels that after all she's put him through, he still loves her. Fin mutters something about how when you have nothing, you take whatever you got. Chester just stares straight ahead.