IAmA playwright, novelist and screenwriter who taught creative writing to murderers in maximum security prisons for 13 years. AMA about Lyle Menendez, Geronimo Pratt and what murderers write about!
My name is David Scott Milton. I am a somewhat successful playwright (half a dozen plays off Broadway, one on Broadway for which the lead actor was nominated for a Tony), novelist (6 novels published) and screenwriter. I wrote Robert DeNiro's first major studio picture years and years ago. I also taught creative writing at USC for 33 years. You can check out my wikipedia page and website for more info.
In 1992, after my divorce, I had a lot of time on my hands. From my house on top of a mountain I could look down and see the local prison. I used to tell my wife "I bet there are a lot of stories down there". Once I was divorced I made some inquiries to find out if they'd be interested in having someone teach creative writing in the prison. It turned out the warden was a USC graduate. He said they had no classes on the maximum security yard, and asked if I'd be interested in teaching there. I said yes.
I have some wild stories to tell, so please AMA! Some of my former students include Lyle Menendez (of the parent murdering brothers Menendii), Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt, and the killers of Mexican mafia founder Rudolpho Cadena (plot of "American Me" starring Edward James Olmos as Cadena).
Also, I've recently made a video of my one-man show about my experiences in the prison available. So if this AMA piques your interest and you'd like to learn even more about what teaching murderers does to a man, please check out Murderers Are My Life.
You can also AMA about my career, making films, old time celebrities I knew and worked with (Katherine Hepburn, Shirley Jones, Sir Tyrone Guthrie and more).
Proof has been messaged to the mods re: working in the prisons, but here's a picture to prove I am who I say I am. http://imgur.com/2hCBhBC
Edit 10:54 p.m. That's it for tonight folks! Thanks so much for asking questions, it was so much fun. I'll keep checking back in case anyone asks any more!
Edit 04.30.13 Came back to answer a few more questions :) Feel free to leave any and I'll keep checking back from time to time.