Robert Wolford
Robert Wolford
Affiliated with Social Work

Bob Wolford, M.S.W., LICSW is the retired director of the Coordinator of Criminal Justice Programs for the Howard Center in Burlington, VT. He began his professional experience working with criminal justice in the summer of 1971 as an undergraduate student at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, the women's prison in Ohio. In 1987, he and his family moved to Vermont from San Francisco, and he started his career with the Howard Center as the Corrections Coordinator. This began a career of developing programs and providing services for people supervised by the Vermont Department of Corrections. For 15 years, he spent most of his time at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility. He developed a Social Skills Program and co-facilitated groups for serious and violent offenders in the Violent Offenders Program, which was later renamed the Cognitive Self-Change Program. This was developed and supervised by Jack Bush, Ph.D., one of the contributing authors of Thinking 4 Change. 

In the community, Bob provided an array of services for the residents of Chittenden County, specifically providing anger management treatment for men and women, and working with at-risk adolescents. During the early 1990s, he developed a service delivery system at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility that provided inmate behavioral health services and supervised the clinical staff until 2002. 

Beginning in late 2002, he provided treatment, supervision and consultation, and developed programs for people at all points of the Sequential Intercept Model. This model—developed by SAMHSA's GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation—conceptualizes how people move through the criminal justice system in predictable ways and envisions a series of points of interception at which an intervention can be made to prevent individuals from entering or penetrating deeper into the criminal justice system. These programs have included prevention initiatives attempting to deter young women from sliding more deeply into the criminal justice system, rapid mental health and substance abuse screenings, clinical services of the drug and mental health treatment courts, and designing facility-based and community reentry services. 

As for his life outside academia, Bob spends a lot of time during spring/summer/fall in his perennial gardens. This activity and birding create mindful activities that allow him to get a better sense of who he is and give him balance. He is interested and has trained in martial arts and currently studies Iaido. Literature and fine arts give him comfort and nurturance. His grandchildren give him joy.


"Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong." - Lao Tzu