Correctional officer job terminated after becoming caretaker of inmate’s newborn child

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A former Mississippi correctional officer has said she was fired from her job after she became the caretaker of an inmate’s newborn child.

It was reported that Roberta Bell had worked at the Louisiana Transitional Center for Women in Tallulah, Louisiana, for more than three years when she realized that an inmate was trying to find someone who would keep her baby until she completed her term.

The inmate known as Katie Bourgeois had just a few months to give birth and was in need of a caretaker. “She was very concerned about Child Protection Services getting the baby and her not knowing where the baby was since she had such a short term to serve,” Bell said, according to WLBT.

Bell, who spent the majority of her working hours in the facility’s food hall, said workers started joking about her being the child’s caretaker, and soon, Bourgeois approached her and begged her to seriously consider taking care of her baby.

Bourgeois said she didn’t have anybody to take care of her child and her mother who she could count on was also going through a divorce. Bell agreed to take care of the baby but she first had to speak to her employers about her decision. And when she did, nobody got back to her until about three days for Bourgeois to deliver. At the time her employers got back to her, she had already exchanged personal information that would be needed at the hospital with Burgeois. The exchange of information with an inmate made Bell lose her job, she said.

“I said, ‘Major Murray, if the hospital calls me to come get this baby, I’m going to get him.’ He said, ‘Well, I’m gonna have to terminate you,’” 57-year-old Bell said.

Days after she was fired from her job, Bourgeois gave birth and Bell is now at home taking care of the baby until Bourgeois is released around July. As someone whose passion is to open a recovery home for women who are coming out of prison, Bell doesn’t regret her decision to keep Bourgeois’ baby until she is released.

“There’s no changing. I’m stubborn. Once I do something, that’s it. I’m not going to change my mind. I’m not going to back down. I’ve never been that type of person. I think that God has created me to minister to the women that don’t know him,” Bell said.