I have a self-help blog http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/ that is also the title of my book I'm eventually publishing that I use to inspire. I'm also one of the poets on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ThePoetsCafe and own a real estate investment start up http://ironcladhomebuyer.com/ and breed dogs http://canarianbullkennel.com/. I was good friends with Evan Ebel and was on the news when he went on his rampage http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/15/my-interview-with-news/. I made mistakes but am trying to make them right.

Comments: 342 • Responses: 94  • Date: 

RyanPettigrew36 karma

At one point during this, I was taken to a strip cell where it was cold and filthy. There was urine all over and puke that they refused to clean up. I was put in shackles for the first hours and stripped of all clothing, bedding, and everything. It was so cold that I had to exercise with the shackles on just to keep warm and they dug into my ankles until I was bleeding all over. At one point, I had to go number two and they refused to give me toilet paper or soap so I had feces stuck to me the next day and they forced me to eat with my hands.

One of the things about solitary confinement was how they had absolute control over our basic necessities. We'd have to act up just to get toilet paper or food. That makes you hate them.

LittleNemoNES10 karma

Fucking torture, man. So inhumane.

RyanPettigrew10 karma

The worst part of it is that I'm OCD, so that about pushed me over the edge.

LittleNemoNES9 karma

No, man; you'll be alright. I've read all of your answers and I see that you want to make a better life for yourself. My sincere best wishes.

RyanPettigrew8 karma

I'm trying.

lotsocows6 karma

What did you do to get put in there? Did you ever put tp on the walls or camera? Thats usually the only reason they take that away.

RyanPettigrew8 karma

To go in the strip cell, I was in a program that was allowing us to work our way to general population. Some guy walked up to me and punched me, we fought but weren't any injuries before they broke it up. I went to strip cell and there wasn't any toilet paper in there to put over a camera, they just didn't give it to me.

AppleAtrocity2 karma

I saw in another reply that you have Bipolar Disorder. Did they give you any medications during your time in solitary? I'm assuming they really don't give a shit about that if they didn't even provide you with basic necessities like TP and soap.

RyanPettigrew6 karma

They give psyche meds because they want you in a zombie state so you're easier to manage. I was on Depakote for 5 years, but a low dose because it was working. However, that whole 5 years they tried to make me go up in dosage. Eventually I gave in and it almost killed me. My blood platelet levels dropped to the point where I could bleed out and I was really sick. Then I got put on Tegretol, then Lithium. My body had bad side affects with all of that so I quit taking meds. I had to learn to manage it myself through meditation and other means.

cleansecretaccount24 karma


RyanPettigrew24 karma

The thing that stuck out, because it was so unexpected, was how very few people stuck to the convict code. It was nothing like the movies.

Unimaginative_Cunt18 karma

What do you mean by the convict code?

RyanPettigrew19 karma

Just as there's a set of rules for citizens to abide by out in society, there's a set of rules for convicts. Never snitch, never back down from a fight, show respect, never talk to guards without a witness, etc

OrganicCertified2 karma


RyanPettigrew4 karma

They stuck to impulsiveness and living by no set of values. They pretend to be one thing but do another.

Not_The_DEA_19 karma

How did you spend your time in solitary confinement? how'd you deal with little to zero social interaction?

RyanPettigrew40 karma

I studied philosophy, psychology, real estate investing and business management for a few hours every morning while everyone else slept. Then I'd write and work out all after noon. Meditate daily. That's all you can do and I still had major issues when released.

MrKrazybones14 karma

Oh, I was under the impression that you get nothing but a bed and a toilet in solitary

RyanPettigrew8 karma

You're thinking of the hole but that's only temporary. Here's a link to the prison I was in http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/11/lonely-prisoners/

jman1223418 karma

What was your reaction when you were finally released and were able to interact with other people?

RyanPettigrew39 karma

I was shaking uncontrollably for two days and was in a state of panic for a week. I couldn't sleep for a week because all of a sudden I had a comfortable bed, dark room and quiet. I slept all those years with the light on, with people screaming all night and on a hard foam mattress. My social skills were horrible at first, and even now I struggle but push myself so it goes unnoticed. I used to be social and now I'm very much anti-social.

in_n0x10 karma

I did a short stint in solitary, just a day, but fuck the screaming. I seriously have no idea what motivates someone to scream and yell all day/night for no reason.

Congrats on getting out and turning your life around. Stay up, fam.

RyanPettigrew20 karma

The screaming is HORRIBLE. I was there with guys so mentally ill that they would scream Christmas Carols all night.

FuckAllOfYouFagets17 karma

What did you do to get 8 years in the hole? Did you lock up for protection, or are you just a general fuck up?

RyanPettigrew23 karma

I was a fuck up, bad. I got involved in prison gangs and smashed a rapist. They kept me in there because I refused to snitch on the gang.

Cesaiben10 karma

Did inmates go after people who committed specific crimes/ did people bond over the crimes they committed?

RyanPettigrew14 karma

Sex offenders had it rough, we were hard on them. Child abusers too. The social structure of prison is set up on race alone besides the undesirables.

eelsify8 karma

How did you know what their crime was?

RyanPettigrew11 karma

We checked everyone's paperwork when they come in

eelsify12 karma

I don't understand, why would this be available for other inmates to see?

RyanPettigrew8 karma

In Colorado prisons, every one has their court papers in case they need to file something.

bgdn995 karma

The same for most of Europe, when you enter prison, you need to show your papers to the other inmates, so they know who they're dealing with.

RyanPettigrew6 karma

Right. And prison officials would be smart to just have separate prisons for snitches and sex offenders.

snakeARM6 karma

do they not have a special block for the "undesirables"?

RyanPettigrew7 karma

Not in Colorado prisons but I hear its something they are discussing. Prison violence would lessen if they did.

buddakan52 karma

What happens to East Asians? I imagine there are very few in prison.

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Asians actually get along great with the whites in there. There's not very many but they're very close knit and well respected.

buddakan52 karma

Really, glad to hear that. I had always imagined Asians would get destroyed in prison because there aren't many Asian gangs so we'd be stuck to fend for ourselves.

RyanPettigrew2 karma

The whites and mexicans would back them against the blacks in Colorado but not sure about other areas. Every state has different alliances, demographics and battles.

buddakan52 karma


RyanPettigrew2 karma

It is a race war in there

TrucksNShit8 karma

I know violence is bad etc but i have gained so much respect for you for smashing a rapist

RyanPettigrew6 karma

I'd do it again in a second, don't care how right it is.

Neyha6 karma

Define 'smashed'

RyanPettigrew15 karma

He had internal bleeding.

Ilostmyredditlogin5 karma

Are you able to say who you were affiliated with? (Not sure if that's the right way to ask that question). Sorry if this is covered in your blog and whatnot.

RyanPettigrew5 karma

211 Crew

cakesmashers4 karma

According to wikipedia the 211 Crew is a white supremacist prison gang where the memembers decorates themselves with swastikas and other Nazi symbolism.

Were you a "Nazi" in there?

Edit: How does the gangs work in there? Is it black vs white vs latinos etc? Or mixed?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

I went to prison a naive youngster and got heavily into white supremacy although 211 Crew is really only about having pride, made up of many different extremes, from pride to skinheads. Eventually I found out I wasn't all white and relaxed on all that, also finding that every race has good and bad. Prison is set up socially by race, that's just how it is. Every race has it's own gangs and those who cross those lines are the first to get attacked.

jkris131312 karma

I have known you before you went in, kept in touch with you while you were in, and still have a very solid relationship with you now. What do you feel is the deepest change that you have internally experienced? You have always been highly intelligent, despite your previous choices, and have always been very motivated. So, essentially, do you think your time in prison changed your core values? If so, how?

RyanPettigrew12 karma

VERY good question. I went in emotionally unstable, impulsive, insecure and dead set on living the outlaw lifestyle until I died. Not one thing in prison was beneficial. I was tortured psychologically and treated as a sub-human daily. I was denied educational programs, even when my family offered to pay, vocational training and anything else to learn how to be productive citizen. Now I'm balanced and secure. I found my way through introspection and study. I also saw that the outlaw lifestyle was only a facade and I refused to be a martyr for something that doesn't exist. I went from absolute compliance to the criminal code to being the best I can be.

jkris13136 karma

Despite the hardships and trauma of prison, and most markedly, solitary for 8 years; do you think that you would have had the same positive outcomes in your life had you not been to prison?

RyanPettigrew6 karma

Absolutely NOT. I was lost the extents that couldn't be fixed unless I saw that what I believed in didn't exist. It ruined me in some ways but fixed me in others. I think that's why my poetry is so deep, because of the level of suffering I felt.

mistajaymes11 karma

why were you in prison, and where did you get the money to start a home flipping business?

RyanPettigrew14 karma

I went to prison for crimes related to selling drugs. My brother stabbed someone when we were robbed and I intimidated witnesses to keep him out of trouble. I do part time construction for my friend's business and use that to do the marketing. You don't need money besides that.


you failed to intimidate him apparently.

RyanPettigrew2 karma

The cops thought that he was stabbed in a domestic with his girlfriend, and they searched their house, finding a meth lab, drugs, guns, fake ID's, etc. So he told on us to get out of that. I'm so high profile in this area that just for mentioning my name, he got out of his charges.

hookersisfun11 karma

What is the Craziest thing you remember doing while in solitary. Side note. I say remember because I can only imagine there was quite Alot you would block out. Or is that not the case ? Thanks in advance.

RyanPettigrew12 karma

I think crazy is a matter of perception. Many things we'd do on a daily basis would be crazy to you guys but normal to us. I passed messages through the sewer lines, stick my prohibited ear plugs up my ass, was tortured, etc. I saw crazier stuff than that though.

hookersisfun8 karma

Was thinking more of hallucinations/coversations... I mean crazy crazy... but thanks for answering. But keep in mind I've been in mental hospitals twice so I've seen some shit ! Just wondering if there was anything that really stuck out that you remember.

RyanPettigrew16 karma

I have Type 2 Bipolar Disorder so I had my struggles. Mine were mostly with OCD, obsession, cold sweats from lack of sunlight and homicidal dreams. Half of the people in there should've been in a mental hospital though. I saw people smear shit on themselves, kill themselves, beat guards up, etc. One of my friends slit a guard's throat after slipping his cuffs.

hookersisfun8 karma

Damn... well bud I'm really glad you've turned your life around and trying to make a difference in this fucked up world. Best of luck to you ! Gotta run dinner time. Thanks again

RyanPettigrew9 karma


asstasticbum4 karma

I have Type 2 Bipolar Disorder so I had my struggles.

Right there with you although my doc joking calls mine Type 1.5.

Hallucinations are the fucking worst. I've gotten them several times from going 80 - 90 hours with no sleep. What meds are you on for T2BP?

RyanPettigrew4 karma

Beyond the different types of Bipolar Disorder, there's also different severity levels and symptoms. I never hallucinate but go into very extreme manic and depressed periods that I have learned to manage. I was on Depakote until they put me on such a high dose that it almost killed me then went to Tegretol and Lithium but the side affects were too much for me. I've been off meds for a few years now and feel great. I manage it through meditation, exercise and caffeine.

asstasticbum3 karma

Today is a fucking miserable manic day. I've had no sleep and got sent a pic from an anonymous person of my ex and her new BF and its sent me off the deep end. Just wanna crawl into a hole.

Do you ever go into hyper sensitive mode?

Edit: I apologize, I just realized I was turning your AMA into a personal conversation. Sorry.

RyanPettigrew6 karma

It's ok. I get into super manic modes but meditate, lift weights and run to calm down. The best revenge for your ex is to succeed and be happy, that'll piss her off.http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/11/revenge/

pagani411 karma

Hi, I took the time to read thru all the answers you have given to all the questions asked before asking the few I have just so I don't ask anything again twice.

Could you please elaborate more on the convict code other than: Never snitch, never back down from a fight, show respect, never talk to guards without a witness, etc

How exactly do you pass messages thru the sewers ?

Do you appreciate things in the outside world better/more then you did before you went to prison?

Do you find you can read faster after reading so many books and literature in prison? I ama slow reader and took me a while to read all the questions and answers for this post.

Thank you in advance !

RyanPettigrew10 karma

Most think that the convict code as being more about never showing weakness but it's more about being an outlaw, anti cop and respecting fellow convicts to lessen drama.

We have a line that we make out of boxers and tie a weight around the bottom of it. We flush it at the same time as the other person on another floor. The lines wrap around each other and we can pass things in seran wrap.

I love life out here and appreciate all the small things. I live very simply. I read fairly fast but not sure how fast I read in comparison to before. Good questions by the way.

4waystreet9 karma

It seems every convict complains about their injustice, the bad people doing them wrong, what about the crimes they/you have committed? Isn't it true for every crime an average con has been caught doing, he's probably committed 20-30 more that he's got away with?Where's the restitution the apology?

Honor trust, the rights of others not to have worry about getting mugged or killed or beaten down for not 'respecting' you

RyanPettigrew11 karma

I deserved to go to prison, I can't argue that. I got away with a lot though but never doing ANYTHING to an innocent victim. I'm sure that I got away with 1,000's of criminal acts because I was a drug dealer for a long time. I'm legit but not philosophically opposed to drugs since I'm a Libertarian. Your question seems very general, as if assuming I hurt innocent people. I make things better through action and I've apologized to the people that I owed one to.

4waystreet4 karma

Very good, thanks for answering and I wish you the best

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Thank you

thundercleese1 karma


RyanPettigrew7 karma

If someone gets involved with the criminal lifestyle, they are choosing all that comes with that. Besides, the guy that got hurt in my case tried to rob us. My old customers were adults who had the right to choose if they wanted to get high.

RubenTheCuban8 karma

What books (philosophy or otherwise) would you recommend to someone who would like to make their lives better?

RyanPettigrew19 karma

"Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" By: Leonard Piekoff "48 Laws Of Power" By: Robert Greene "The 50th Law" By: Robert Greene "How to Win Friends and Influence People" By: Dale Carnegie "Think And Grow Rich" By: Napolean Hill The Rich Dad Poor Dad series I also have a blog that gets into specifics with video and essays at http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/

RubenTheCuban6 karma

Thank you. and thank you for doing this AMA.

Good luck. :)

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Thank you

Insane_Overload5 karma

im currently reading Carnegie's book, its really good

RyanPettigrew4 karma

One of the best books I've ever read.

theroadtonowhere8 karma

Can you tell us why you were in prison and what got you put in solitary? Thx.

RyanPettigrew5 karma

I went to prison for crimes related to drug dealing, when my brother stabbed someone who tried to rob us. I intimidated witnesses. I went to solitary for beating up a rapist and for prison gang activity.

theroadtonowhere5 karma

Did the person your brother stabbed die?

RyanPettigrew8 karma

No, he had a collapsed lung but was okay in a month. He continued to commit crime and is in prison now.

theroadtonowhere3 karma

Thank you. Good luck to you.

RyanPettigrew1 karma


iwanttofork7 karma

What was the first thing you wanted to eat when you got out?

RyanPettigrew8 karma

Steak or mexican food

TehZexxus7 karma

Hello and thanks for the AMA!

What did you do to stop going insane in solitary confinement?

RyanPettigrew9 karma

I kept the mind active by studying every morning while everyone slept, I worked out and meditated to relieve anxiety and tried to be optimistic.

asstasticbum7 karma

No pun or snarky comment forthcoming, but can you tell me how you meditate? I get bad anxiety at times for my personal reasons and I think hearing what a MAN did in solitary confinement in prison to relieve his anxiety would go much further than all the crap I have read about anxiety relief in a perfect world.

No pressure, if you don't have the time or want to discuss its groovy.

And WB to "society", proud of where you are going!

RyanPettigrew9 karma

I'd be happy to tell you, meditation is a miracle worker.

I sit in a chair with a straight back, put my feet on the floor and hands on my knees. Close my eyes and focus on normal breathing while making myself not think about anything. After 20 minutes or so, My mind stops racing and I just sit in the present, mind only focusing on my breathing. You'll feel muscles get tight but that's only because they're super relaxed. Then it'll feel almost as is they melt. Your body will tingle and mind will be so fresh. You'll feel almost high. Meditation is a present focused state of relaxation, NOT sleep, not thinking about anything. Just being. Right now I'm working on a technique that is supposed to increase intuition and our perception of energy and our subconscious but haven't mastered that one yet.

asstasticbum3 karma

Thank you very very very much RyanPettiegrew. I will try this today. I need something as I am literally on the edge of a breakdown.

Again, best of luck sir and congrats on your new found life.

RyanPettigrew9 karma

you might want to try to jog before just to calm your thoughts down a little before meditation. That'll make it easier.

Sassytheginger7 karma

Do you have any advice for families of those who are newly or soon to be released from prison? What do you feel is the most important support to give in helping our loved one stay on a positive path?

RyanPettigrew11 karma

Give them time to adjust. Citizens think that because they're used to freedom, that everyone should be. Trust that being institutionalized is a real thing. After they're right mentally, then they can contribute but also be aware that recidivism is high due to the fact that they're released ignorant and angry. Without my family, I wouldn't stand a chance despite my best intentions.

gosuruss7 karma

Have you counted how many cracks were on the wall?

RyanPettigrew7 karma

Some did, I kept my mind very active and actually was very busy in there.

Not-Pennys_Boat7 karma

before solitary what was your day to day like...

Did you have a cell mate? Did you have a toilet in your cell? if so would you not do #2 there so as not have your cell mate smell it?
were the toilets private? were the showers like a gym locker? what about card games/gambling?


RyanPettigrew7 karma

Before solitary, I had a cellmate with a toilet in my cell, a sink and bunk bed. It was in Buena Vista. I worked in the laundry room, got tattooed and lifted weights. When I took a number 2, we'd put up a blanket and flush repeatedly. Showers were like a gym locker room. We played lots of cards. Mostly poker and pinochle. I ran a poker table and sports books

Not-Pennys_Boat4 karma

for the sports book..how did you set the lines? did you have problems collecting? if so what did you do?

RyanPettigrew5 karma

THey paid upfront and I had a paper for the lines.

Revere126 karma

Is solitary confinement 'cruel and unusual punishment' ? If you are against it (as I am) what is a reasonable alternative for an inmate who is a danger to other inmates and prison staff?

RyanPettigrew7 karma

It's definitely an 8th Amendment Violation and I'm suing over it pro se. I'm currently in the Tenth Circuit Federal Appellate Court over two main issues: 1) That prison mental health diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder and long term isolation is known to exacerbate the symptoms of mental illness. They kept me in an environment that they knew would make me worse for 8 years. 2) At one point, they got a little out of hand and tortured me.

Most of the people in solitary confinement are mentally ill or petty prison rule violators, not a danger at all. Prison is always going to be dangerous no matter what they do but all they can do is put the few who commit very violent acts in solitary confinement temporarily, then in high security environments.

drakeshizzle6 karma

What made you decide to help others become better?

RyanPettigrew22 karma

For two reasons: 1) to get my parent's good name back and 2) for the ultimate revenge for what CDOC guards put me through. They psychologically tortured me, tried to prevent self-education and tried to break me. If I can not only succeed but also help others find happiness and success, then I'm not the monster they portrayed me as.

RyanPettigrew4 karma

Two things: 1) to get my parent's good name back and 2) to show the prison system that despite their every effort, they didn't break me. And not only did they fail at that, but now I'm one upping it and helping others.

Revere126 karma

I want to make a penpal with someone who is in prison. I feel that is is a humane thing to do and every person deserves to be treated with some degree of respect. But I have reservations. A lot of dudes just seem like really awful people who have done unforgivable things. And then there are some dudes that just seem dangerous and like I shouldn't get tangled up with them at all. What advice do you have for me? Is it right for me to write to an inmate or is it a bad idea?

RyanPettigrew10 karma

Are you a male or female? That's important for my advice. Most want to meet people on the outside to use them for money but there are also some good people in there who would like the conversation. Don't use the prison pen pal groups, try to do it through a church or organization that knows the person. It can be a great thing, just do your homework on the person you may write.

Revere123 karma

I'm male. Thank you for the reply. I will take your advice.

RyanPettigrew5 karma

No problem. If you want help on that, feel free to contact me. https://www.facebook.com/ryan.pettigrew.16

sunkillsmoon216 karma

In prison, is it realistic how skinny white kids would get taken advantage of like how it is depicted on TV?

Would you recommend the guy to get tatoos?

Is it realistic for the guy to stand up and fight back the first time he is hassled for something, assuming the guy causing problems obviously could cause him serious harm?

RyanPettigrew7 karma

I'm a skinny white kid and it was nothing like that. If the other races tried to victimize me, there would've been a race riot and I was in one. The thing is that you will be tested but as long as you stand your ground, even if you get beaten or killed, its better than the alternative in there.

orphankicker7 karma

can you elaborate on the race riot you were in

RyanPettigrew5 karma

The race riot I was in was when I was young. We were playing cards and listening to music on the tv, waiting for dinner when a big black guy walked up and changed the channel. One of the guys at the table told him politely, assuming that it was a mistake, that we were listening to music. The black guy said,"you guy aren't gonna play cards and watch tv." So my friend poured water down the back of the tv and blew it up. The rest of the blacks surrounded us and two of the guys we were with went running. We went swinging into the crowd and luckily, the rest of the white boys saw it and attacked. There was literally 60 guys fighting in the middle of the pod. The cops were too afraid to come in until we were done. One guy was stabbed and one had his head beat in with a lock and sock.

Joyrock5 karma

I was actually just wanting to request an AMA like this!

I'm majoring in Criminal Justice looking to be a parole officer, and I find hearing from people's experience inside the system, and with recovering their life.

I have two main questions:

What would you really like to see from society and the government in terms of helping ex-convicts get back on their feet? Do you feel you got proper assistance?

And what would you most like to see from a parole or probation officer in order to help people improve? I'd love to hear what I can do to most help people, and do my job as best as possible.

RyanPettigrew5 karma

1) The only thing I want to see from society and government is less blocking me from progress. I don't want any hand outs. I couldn't get a job because of my past and the careers that I would be good at, aren't available to me. I can't be a lawyer or real estate agent due to arbitrary regulations. I just wrote an essay on my plan to lower recidivism but haven't posted it yet. Basically, if people want to lower crime and the threat to them, prison should be set up for rehab, education, vocational training, etc. Do we really want them getting out ignorant and angry without a way to provide for themselves legally? Also, instead of releasing us straight to the street, make us go to half way houses first to ease the process. Plus, since most go to homeless shelters, this will allow them to save up for their own place.

2)I actually refused all help once released since they didn't try to help me when I was in there. I felt like I wanted to be an example and didn't want the gov't to take any credit in my rise since they tried to break me. They even tried to block my education. My parole officer is great because he lets me live. Less restrictions is good. If I'm going to mess up, why delay it? But if I'm going to succeed, why block it?

ticklethecat5 karma

What kind of food did they give you and how often did you get to eat?

How long did it take you to adapt to the confinement?

What all was in your room?

Thanks! By the way, you're incredibly strong. Shout out to you for making it an opportunity for growth.

RyanPettigrew4 karma

The food has fancy labels like "swiss steak" but was just a patty that shouldn't be eaten by humans. Most of the food isn't edible so its important to have money so you can buy your own food.

It took 6 months before solitary confinement was normal for me. I had a tv, bed, desk, toilet and sink.


paprikapants3 karma

How did you get money to buy your own food and how did you get proper/real food in prison?

Did the TV just have local channels or could you play movies on it or something?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

My family sent me money and I ran a sports betting operation even from solitary so I could barter. The tv had cable channels.

MeaNT2L1V4MoRe4 karma

Thanks for doing this.

How difficult was it to readjust back into the real world after serving your time? Did you have people who helped you get back on your feet?

RyanPettigrew5 karma

It was absolutely insane. One of my brothers and my mom picked me up and I was trembling, that continued for a few days. I remember being so overwhelmed with emotion because I wasn't used to positive emotion. I had found happiness in misery and would break out crying for small things. Just being around family would have me speechless. I couldn't sleep for a week because I went from a lighted cell, hard mat and noise to a tempurpedic bed, darkness and silence. I was weird for a long time and even now, I'm not the same socially. without my family helping me, I didn't stand a chance.

MeaNT2L1V4MoRe4 karma

That's awesome that you had such a great family there to support you. I wish you the best in all of life's endeavors!

RyanPettigrew7 karma

Words can't even describe how great my family is.

gutter_rat_serenade2 karma

It's good you're not the same... the person you were got yourself locked up in solitary confinement.

RyanPettigrew7 karma

Agreed, I would've been dead had I not changed.

MattAnd3rson4 karma

Solitary, i assume is hell. But would solitary be tolerable if you could read books and use the internet and reddit?

RyanPettigrew12 karma

It was tolerable as it is but because you mentally adapt to it. That's the bad part though because to adapt to that makes you crazy.

holyoak3 karma

Have you read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, and if so, do you have any thoughts on how his experience might relate or contrast to yours?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

Can you summarize his message so I can compare?

holyoak3 karma

I am not sure i feel capable of summarizing such a powerful writer and thinker, but i will give it a try.

As you know, he wrote the book in concentration camps during WWII.

His central theme was that it is arrogant and presumptuous of humans to demand to know the meaning of life. Instead of asking such a juvenile and needy question, we should instead recognize that we are asked this same question every day. It is not our place to demand an answer, it is our duty to supply one. The meaning of our lives is only what we make it.

His proof of concept was the horror around him. Most people just gave up and died. Some struggled for a bit and eventually succumbed. The ones who survived, according to Frankl, were those who had a goal or desire that was so important for them to achieve that they viewed the life in concentration camps only as an obstacle in their path to creating the meaning of their life. For some it was seeing their family again. For others is was revenge. For him it was publishing his book.

The reason i asked the question was to see if you had identified something that was so important to you that it kept you going in times of darkness, or if you thought it was your natural toughness, fate, or just dumb luck that got you through.

As i look at this summary, it is very inadequate, and i probably misstate some things as i am just writing from memory. It's a very short book, and well worth the read.

RyanPettigrew3 karma

That was an excellent summary and now I get what you're saying. I'm an individualist (but NOT an existentialist) and I fully believe that the meaning of life is what we make of it. Different for each but a similar core. Basically, we are living creatures who find happiness when we embrace out true self, seek to achieve our highest potential and experience pleasure in a balanced manner. This is what I write about at http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/.

For me, my revenge and achieving my highest potential go hand in hand. This got me through that and now fuels my drive. We make our own fate. Great question by the way.

RyanPettigrew2 karma

I'm aware of the book, his experiences in concentration camps but haven't read it myself yet.

brotherjonathan2 karma

If one were to be sent to prison, what advice would you give?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Keep your word, don't puff out your chest but never back down, listen more than you speak and be aware of your surroundings. Feed your mind and work everyday to better yourself mentally, physically and emotionally.

dunken_stranger2 karma

Where were you locked up at?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Mostly the Colorado state penitentiary http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/11/lonely-prisoners/

codichronic2 karma

Thank you for beating the rapist and anything else you've done against other sex offenders. It's nice to know they truly are getting what they deserve. Are sex offenders targeted for rape in prison? And do the guards typically allow the abuse (physical or sexual) of sex offenders?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

There really isn't much rape in prison, at least not in Colorado, just lots of homosexuality. They are targeted for physical abuse but the guards protect them. I told a guard one time after I beat up a child molester, "since you want to protect them, I hope it's your kids he fucks next time."

RyanFire2 karma

Do you think the jury should have the job of sentencing instead of the judge?

RyanPettigrew9 karma

No because jurors would make emotional decisions one way or another. I think that the only things that should be illegal are crimes of force (assaults, thefts, robberies, kidnapping, murders, sex crimes, etc) and gambling, prostitution and drugs should be legal. Then take away the mandatory minimum so a judge has more leeway with mitigating circumstances

motrvatd1 karma

Is the image of large scale prisons and solitary confinement that is painted by the media in movies and TV series an accurate or far of depiction?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Prison has been watered down with all the tough on crime laws. Most people in there aren't hard core criminals but rather mentally ill, drug addicts or people who made mistakes. The few really hard core ones are left in solitary forever or spread out so that they have little influence. Sure there's still violence in there but its mostly from people trying to be cool and play prison rather than actually being hard core. Now if you cross one of the real ones, you can get killed pretty easily but that's easy to avoid, just keep your word and don't disrespect people.

The only movie I saw that was somewhat accurate was "Animal Factory" because the author of the book (Edward Bunker) was in prison for a long time. Most of its bs though.

The solitary confinement problem is very real though, they are locking too many people up in long term isolation for any reason they can.

DaFuror1 karma

Did you ever have experiences with prison employees other than guards? If so, what was it like, and if not, what did others say?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Mental health and medical services for the most part had the same attitude as the guards, that we were sub-human. Just imagine how a medical professional would treat you if they despised you. Many times I saw mental health workers making fun of serious mentally ill people when they had break downs. I would speak up and get into trouble because the mentally ill person wasn't able to stand for himself. I saw them watch people die just because they didn't want to help. One time medical had guards shock a person in a diabetic seizure just because he wasn't able to stand.

RDRKeeper1 karma

What did you do to get 8 years in solitary confinement?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

I got involved in prison gangs and beat up a rapist

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I just posted my new blog post "The Prison Recidivism Solution" at http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/30/prison-recidivism-solution/