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The Spoken Word Program

The CJM Spoken Word Program is both an individual activity in which inmates provide storytelling through poetry and reviewed by Michael Watkins the ministry leader, and a group activity in which inmates perform in front of other inmates.  Spoken Word usually tends to focus on the words that are said, the dynamic tones, gestures, and facial expressions.


To encourage inmates to express themselves through poetry and to help them to improve their poetic skills, especially poetry on religious topics.

The Program for Men

Inmates can submit a poem a week for review. The poems are to be given to Chaplain Smith at the Tuesday night Bible class. The poems will be reviewed by award-winning poet Mr. Art Milkes and returned. Once a month, inmates who have submitted poems for review can meet with Mr. Milkes for poetry discussions and his reviews of their poems.

Program Lead: Mr. Art Mikes, Award-winning Poet

International Society of Poets
International Society of Authors and Artists
National Authors Registry

In 72 anthologies
Four poems published/ for publication in Verses Magazine 1999-2000

Feature Author, National Authors Registry

(Verses Magazine, 1997)

Poet of the Year (Nov 1999) + 8 Honorable Mentions 1997-99
Cader Publishing International Competition

President’s Award for Literary Excellence
1998,1999, 2000 Iliad Press

CJM would like to thank Art Milkes an Award-winning Poet shown here for his contributions to CJM over his 14 years of service.  His service to the inmates has inspired many to express themselves through poetry and to help them improve their poetic skills, especially poetry on religious topics.  Mr. Milkes retired from the ministry in 2013, but God sent us Michael Watkins.

Mr. Michael Watkins

Michael Watkins is a highly gifted poet and it is amazing to see and hear him recite his poetry from off of the top of his head. Mr. Watkins works with inner city youth in Baltimore teaching those that are interested in poetry how to hone their skills.  He is truly an inspiration to the inmates. He joined us in October 2013.  It is always a blessing to see how the inmates try and emulate Mr. Watkins with the poems they create. After each session Mr. Watkins challenges the inmates to come up with poems to have when he returns the following month and they actually come up with some exciting work.

CJM has changed the name of the class from Poetry to Spoken Word because it seems to attract more men to the class.  You can hear Mr. Watkins on on Tuesday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., of course except on the second Tuesday of the month when he is at the Detention Center.  Welcome to CJM Mr. Watkins.

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