I spent 8 years in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary which means no sunlight or human contact. During that time I was forced to find the secrets to inner peace or self-destruct. I broke down those techniques and put them into online classes which teach someone how to find their true self and then be their best mentally, physically and emotionally.

I then found the cure to the number 1 obstacle that prevents progress: integrating a social network into the classes so that people can build personal and business relationships with others who are on the same positive path.

This website is http://www.madmanmasterminds.com/

My blog is http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/blog/

My clothing line: http://rar-online.myshopify.com/collections/canario-inc

My poetry book http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F0YN9OK

Proof: I'll be posting about this AMA on my twitter account at https://twitter.com/RyanPettigrew3

Comments: 226 • Responses: 87  • Date: 

FLGulf21 karma

What did you do to land in solitary for that long?

RyanPettigrew32 karma

While in general population I beat up a rapist in a gang hit.

FLGulf11 karma

What did you do to land in prison in the first place?

RyanPettigrew33 karma

I was a drug dealer when another drug dealer tried to rob me and my brother stabbed him. I told the witnesses and victim, afterward, to give a false story so my brother wouldn't get into trouble.

FLGulf11 karma

Thank you for your replies and doing the ama. All the best to you for the holidays!

RyanPettigrew13 karma

Thank you, you too.

necron335 karma

Do you realize this could later be used by authorities to get your brother into trouble?

RyanPettigrew4 karma

Do you realize that my brother went to prison as my co-defendant and this case is finalized? Or, even if it wasn't finalized, that the statute of limitations is already up?

necron337 karma

Aha, I just wanted to help, nothing more.

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Right on

mgweir3 karma

It's called witness intimidation and you did 10 years for it.

RyanPettigrew13 karma

No kidding

mcspicy_addcheese-17 karma


RyanPettigrew14 karma

Actually, my "victims" went to prison for continuing to be drug dealers and personally I don't consider them victims when they tried to rob us.

mcspicy_addcheese-26 karma


RyanPettigrew13 karma

We're all entitled to our opinion and personally, I think you are self-righteous. If you can't see how I help others than it's your choice to remain blind. I wish you the best.

Quisroltz-3 karma

rapists and child molesters are really the lowest skum on the earth, so sry for the long time in solatary. but good job on the gang up

RyanPettigrew0 karma


tree4me42014 karma

How long till you achieved inner peace and what is the number one thing you feel people don't know or over look?

RyanPettigrew25 karma

I was really angry in solitary for the first couple of years and made gradual improvement over the years. I'd have to say that it took me six years until I finally achieved it but only because I didn't understand the process.

The most important thing that people overlook is that they try to be what they think is a good person rather than just being who they are. This causes most of our inner turmoil.

tree4me42010 karma

I feel losing one's ego is a key part in inner peace...easier said then done but way too many focus on self conscious thoughts and etc..

RyanPettigrew29 karma

Self-conscious thoughts are caused by insecurity, which comes from trying to be what you're not. Society sets the standards for the ideal man or woman that we're taught to become from childhood but never can be. It's that failure to achieve what we think we should which causes the insecurity.

FemtoG7 karma

Your answers are very thoughtful.

Thanks for sharing.

RyanPettigrew5 karma


tree4me4203 karma

And seems to be part of the overall plan ....they don't want people to achieve happiness pure and true happiness

RyanPettigrew11 karma

Agreed, because pure happiness and inner peace requires true Individualism and that means independent thinking that strips them of mass control.

tree4me4202 karma

I sit around and imagine if all the people could get on the same page and just live together it would be great ...get rid of all the psychopathic elite and enjoy this beautiful planet but here we are who knows how many miles having to connect on the series of tubes which connects some people but brings most farther from reality

RyanPettigrew5 karma

The puppet masters provide too many distractions for most to pull away from the crowd and that's part of the inner peace I teach, awareness of what's really going on.

tree4me4202 karma

Distractions is one of my favorite words to use when talking topics like this the word sums it all up...its really a sad age to live in when everyone(well most people) is a slave to the dollar and have such a selfish mentality ...so many people would rather spread negative energy then keep positive vibrations flowing

RyanPettigrew8 karma

People are naturally inherently selfish but it doesn't only relate to the dollar. One commits acts of charity because they feel good helping others but the fact that they feel good doing it makes it a selfish act. They're doing it for their own interests. I don't take offense to the selfish component, I just despise the ignorance and how people choosing to be controlled like puppets effects the few of us who get it.

Sil3691 karma

whats some ways you've stripped yourself from the mass control after jail?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I started my own business and don't put myself in any situation that could allow them to cross me out.

LS_D3 karma

It's that failure to achieve what we think we should which causes the insecurity.

"expectations are the basis of disappointment" ..... Buddha

keep up the good work bro

RyanPettigrew1 karma

Thank you

sazephyr991 karma

I could not agree with you more here. I am having a daughter, i just found out, and the biggest thing i want to protect her from is her feeling like she has to become like the standards she is shown. i want her to be herself, and love who she is because she is unique. NOT a replica.

RyanPettigrew1 karma

Then she'll grow up happy.

Defenstrate42011 karma

What did you do to keep yourself entertained? I read somewhere that a guy in solitary played 18 holes of golf in his head everyday and his score improved significantly when he got out.

RyanPettigrew11 karma

I would get up early and study while it was quiet since most other prisoners slept all morning. During the afternoon I would workout, meditate and socialize through the door or vents. At night, I would read or watch tv.

Antrez27 karma

Here I was thinking that you got left in a room for 8 years with food slid under the door, nothing to do but scratch the bricks.

I watch to much TV

RyanPettigrew19 karma

That's temporary solitary confinement, aka "the hole". The longest I ever got that treatment was for 4 months.

ultimate524 karma

I couldn't imagine being placed in there.

RyanPettigrew6 karma

It was bad but what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

ultimate521 karma

I suppose. I don't think I could last more than a week in there though...

RyanPettigrew2 karma

I didn't either but it's amazing what we can adapt to. The problem is the psychological issues created from adapting to bad things.

Sil3691 karma

why were you put there?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I beat up a rapist in a gang hit

FlorentBerthet1 karma

And what did you do during these days?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

I would read, write letters, work out and talk to others through the vents/doors.

subcconscious248 karma

I'm glad you turned to logic, and enlightenment instead of God and religion.

RyanPettigrew2 karma

That is one of the best compliments I've heard, thanks. Are you an Objectivist?

subcconscious240 karma

Yes sir I am. I believe in truth, and knowledge opposed to lies, and feeling good or safe.

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I am too and my entire self-help philosophy is based on Objectivism. Glad another rational being exists.

LATERALUS_1123588 karma

After being away from the throes of society for so long and improving your inner being, do you feel like there are things that you notice about people now that you may have never noticed before?

RyanPettigrew14 karma

I thought that society was truly a better group of people but in reality, the majority of people everywhere lack integrity and are fake. Then again, the traits we value wouldn't be spoken of if they were normal.

LATERALUS_1123584 karma

Well put. I think we should all exile ourselves for a little while at some point in our lives, to give us an enlightenment on life and the world we live in. I think people would be so much less fake if they could just escape the propagandic garbage that seems to be everywhere you turn nowadays. It seems like you are really in tune with things now that you've had so much time alone, and I'm sure that makes you a much better person today than the man you were before. I think that's admirable

RyanPettigrew14 karma

It's really night and day, I was a scum bag to the fullest extent. I also consider myself very enlightened now. I suffered deeply in solitary confinement in ways that I'll never fully recover from but it made me a better man so I don't regret it. This is why I try to teach others the lessons I learned in that period of isolation without them having to suffer like I did.

LS_D2 karma

This is why I try to teach others the lessons I learned in that period of isolation without them having to suffer like I did.

"the difference between a wise man and the fool, is, while they both make mistakes, a fool may learn from his mistakes but a wise man will learn from his mistakes and the mistakes of others"


RyanPettigrew1 karma

Exactly, I made enough mistakes for entire cities of people so I hope people can learn from me.

ObzestWithFood5 karma

How would you best describe the process of letting all the anger go? Was it more of a conscious or subconscious thought process?

RyanPettigrew9 karma

It was very conscious because my subconscious mind was still going downhill the longer I remained in solitary confinement. First I was angry for letting myself become who I had become so I let the anger fuel a move to the opposite extreme. I went from impulsive and emotionally unstable to obsessively self-disciplined and self-righteous. I became a right wing extremist and was angry because I knew it was all an act. I couldn't be who I was trying to be. So then I got into individualism and found that accepting the true self causes inner peace.

ObzestWithFood3 karma

That's truly amazing. Thank you for sharing and for doing an AMA.

RyanPettigrew2 karma


ANewBreedofHipster3 karma

How would one know who their true self is? While there is some stability, we are usually changing over time as our beliefs, personality, and environment. What remains to exist as our true self?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Evolution is very important so we need to move forward daily or else we suffer for the stagnation. However, there's certain parts that remain consistent at our core: core values, strengths, weaknesses and the proper balance of physical/psychological needs. The core value for someone who has achieved individuality is that each person is unique and has the right to live as he/she chooses so long as he/she doesn't violate the rights of others through force.

What we're naturally good at or bad at skill wise remains consistent but we should always try to master strengths and strengthen weakness.

Teaching people to find their true self through introspection is one of the classes that I teach but that's only the beginning of the process.

slipperymoose5 karma

Was there any of your fellow inmates that snapped?

RyanPettigrew7 karma

Solitary confinement either makes you or breaks you but most people break. Even the few who make it suffer permanent psychological damage but there's so many cases of serious mental deterioration like Sam Mandez (http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/11/14/out-of-sight-out-of-mind-synopsis/). People kill themselves all the time in there.

The most public example is when my friend Evan Ebel got out and killed the Executive Director of the Colorado Dept. of Corrections (http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/15/my-interview-with-news/)

slipperymoose3 karma

Well good for you making it though that man. I know I wouldn't be able to

RyanPettigrew5 karma

You'd be surprised with what you can handle.

Kangaroo_humper4 karma

How did the Guards treat you? was there ever any abuse to any? what happened?

RyanPettigrew11 karma

There's a small minority of guards that are on either extreme (corrupt or honorable). Most are right in the middle and just try to fit in with whoever they're around. The culture itself is very negative because guards are taught to view us a sub-human so even though instances of physical abuse are rare, they poke us with a stick and treat us as sub-human daily. This even rubs off on most medical and mental health staff too since they're ostracized if they seem to care about us.

I'm currently suing the prison system for two main issues: 1) They diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder yet kept me in an environment known to worsen the systems of mental illness (long term isolation) and 2) For a 24 hour period of torture

Kangaroo_humper4 karma

What do you mean by torture? like fingernail pulling and cutting you up torture?

RyanPettigrew12 karma

They put me in a cold cell without clothing or bedding to stay warm with shackles on my bare ankles that cut me pretty bad. There was puke and urine on the floor that they wouldn't let me clean up and they employed sleep deprivation techniques that were called "torture" by the Geneva Convention. When I took a bowel movement, they refused to give me toilet paper or soap so I had feces stuck to me for the day and then had to eat two meals with my bare hands.

Kangaroo_humper2 karma

Wow. that is terrible. No human despite what they have done should have to go through that. my apologies. and Thank you for answering all my questions! Ive asked quite a few haha I find it very interesting to hear what someone like yourself has to say about it.

RyanPettigrew6 karma

Feel free to ask whatever you want. I like shedding light on the system as it is, the solution and anything related to inner peace.

itallblends-6 karma

Sounds pretty mild compared to torture carried out in different cultures and civilizations around the world.

That being said it sounds terrible to know that takes places so close to home. Ie here in the USA.

Would you say you're totally rehabbed by the system?
Can you talk about the kinds of questions you were asked in parole hearing? Did you get out on your first hearing?
Did they believe your answers or did you think they were looking down their noses at you?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

There's many worse and better prison systems all throughout the world. Did you know that the US leads the world in incarcerations though?

I wasn't rehabbed by the system, they tried to prevent me from rehabbing myself. They denied my taking correspondence courses that my family offered to pay for and punished me for educating myself in there from books in the library. In their minds, an educated criminal is a dangerous criminal.

At parole hearings they would ask what my plans were for work and where I would live. I would tell them about my business plans and they would look at me like I was delusional. I got out on my fifth hearing. The last one I saw was pretty decent but some of them were downright rude.

itallblends1 karma

Were you ready to get out on the first hearing? It seems like its hard as fuck to get granted parole. The board gets to be judge and jury.

How's the hunt going for a job now?

RyanPettigrew4 karma

I thought I was ready but really wasn't, it wasn't until the third time seeing them that I was in my current mindset. Most people don't hire felons and even when they do, they set such a low ceiling that you're destined to poverty so I started my own businesses.

iammakingitup1 karma


RyanPettigrew1 karma

No one. I filed my lawsuit pro se and all business ventures have been just me and my friends/family. I even self-published my book of poetry. I'm looking for representation on a contingency basis and an agent to set up public speaking arrangements though.

caucasianasian14 karma

When you came out of solitary was it hard for you to adjust to social interaction again? Did everything come back naturally or did you "forget" certain aspects of societal norms.

RyanPettigrew5 karma

I've been out of prison for almost 16 months and still haven't adjusted completely to social interaction. Before I went to prison, I loved being around people and was the life of the party. Now, I don't really feel comfortable around people besides my small group. I have become almost a hermit and don't leave the house unless I have to. I know this is something that I have to overcome but not sure if I'll ever be like I was in this regard.

josnton4 karma

What's the most important aspect of the prison system that you feel needs changing?

RyanPettigrew7 karma

I wrote a blog post about overhauling the system that I ran numbers on and will be proposing the a congressman. http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/30/prison-recidivism-solution/

I think the most important thing that needs overhauled is the idea that we can punish people so harshly that they can magically learn to become something they don't know how to be. Most criminals start early and don't learn how to earn money lawfully or how to do basic citizen tasks then they're sent to a violent world where they fight all the time and are treated sub-human by the guards. Then they're released ignorant and angry with $1oo back to the same environment that they came to prison from or from a homeless shelter. What do we think will happen when no one will hire them and that money dries up?

zeno4 karma

I'd say though that the "correction" part of a correctional facility is a secondary afterthought to the primary purpose of prison: revenge and isolation. I'm not saying this is justified, but this fulfill's society's need to have a cathartic release against anti-social individuals.

RyanPettigrew3 karma

I agree with you and since they can't keep their emotions in check when putting together correctional strategies, they actually put themselves in danger. You take criminals and put them around violence, better criminals and guards who poke them with a stick all day then release them ignorant and angry on an unsuspecting public. Cause and effect. That's why I try to wake up the people so everyone wins.

Dabee6253 karma

First off, thank you for doing this AMA. My question is: how did you keep track of time? Did it feel like 8 years? More? Less? Also, when I find myself bored after ten minutes I catch myself counting tiles on the floor for whatever reason. Did you count anything in your eight years? Thanks again for doing this!

RyanPettigrew2 karma

We had a tv so we knew what time it was always and it actually went real fast because I kept my mind active. I have to assume that if I did my time like most people, watching tv all day, it would've gone real slow. To be honest, I never let myself get bored because idle time was dangerous in there for the mind. I seen way too many people lose their minds because they wouldn't exercise their mind and body.

Ipeeongramaslawn1 karma

What did you watch? What was the food like?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I only watched tv shows at night but it's been awhile so I don't really remember what shows besides Big Brother and Parenthood. The food was horrible and now I"m allergic to dairy, eggs, whey, casein, cod, grapefruit, chocolate, sugar cane and coffee.

erontica143 karma

When you were put in solitary confinement what was the a main aspect of life outside penitentiary that you were unable to have that affected you most? And why also if you desire.

RyanPettigrew2 karma

The lack of human contact affected me most because we have a psychological need for human contact. Without it, you just feel different. It's really hard to explain but I still haven't recovered fully from that.

damattmissile3 karma

Do you identify with Buddhism after having been thru your experience?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

I employ many Buddhist into my life but the main reason that I'm not a Buddhist is because we have a psychological need to achieve our highest potential and Buddhism is all about lack of ambition.

LS_D3 karma

I think you might be mistaken there, a central tenet of Buddhism is 'non attachment' ... this is very different from not 'succeeeding' to your fullest potential, in fact it is very much about becoming the 'best' you possible

The 'idea' that it's out 'attachment' to various things, from possesions to thoughts, which we 'hang onto' ... and when this attachment is 'broken' for some reason, we experience a sense of loss and we often then become sad and disillusioned. By not being attached we forgo the loss.

You can still do and have whatever you want, but by staying detached, should any of these things 'go', you won't experience 'loss' and suffering, coz "things, come to go, and go to come again"

You well know that how we feel is all about how we think, and what we think is the basis for what we do! It is our thoughts which are the basis of our karma (actions)

It seems you figured this out your own way, personally I think Buddhism is great, but the old texts are often hard to get your head around, but it is, in essence, a very simple belief system, and having no deities makes it unique as far as 'ancient belief systems' go!

All the best bro, I hope things work out for you, you're off to a great start

RyanPettigrew2 karma

I like how you worded that and I'm far from an expert on Eastern philosophy, it just seems that most of it is about living in the present and not trying to achieve. That could be a misunderstanding on my part but I still use many eastern practices into my daily life such as meditation and acupuncture.

ANewBreedofHipster1 karma

Could you explain what you mean by "buddhism is all about lack of ambition"?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

Nirvana is the perfect state for the Buddhist and that is the absence of all desire, including the desire to achieve. It's all about being peaceful in the present with no thought of the future.

walle4u23 karma

What do you mean when you say "accepting the true self"? Aren't some of us inherently "bad" in a sense that we can "improve" on what we are? How you feel about changing for a "better" person? (used quotes as everything is relative)

RyanPettigrew3 karma

The true self is based on our core values, proper balance of physical/psychological needs, strengths and weaknesses. It's that unique combination that sets us apart from all others. Considering sex is a psychological need but also one of the most controversial aspects of life, we need to embrace our sexual preferences despite how society feels about it. That's an example of accepting the true self.

Sure some of us are sociopaths but that's so rare that we can't make exceptions for them. All we can do is ban the use of force and if they violate the rights of others through force, punish them.

I feel that changing to be a better person is being the best we can be, seeking to achieve our highest potential but when "better" is an ideal standard established by another person, we set ourselves up for failure.

walle4u22 karma

First of all thank you for the through answer. But I have a follow up. When you say "Being the best" / "achieve our highest potential" what exactly do you mean and at what? Don't we need some sort of guideline from the people we live around to measure such parameters?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

One's highest potential is based on skill set, education, drive and dreams, being the best we can possibly be, which isn't based on any exterior parameters to compare to.

Here's my example. I'm obsessively ambitious and I know I like to help others learn. My strengths lie in problem solving, analyzing, research, marketing, simplifying difficult subjects, endurance, energy, agility, writing, assertiveness and communication but my weaknesses are my social comfort, mechanical mindset, abstract creativity and physical strength. I set up my ultimate goal based on my core values and balanced satisfaction of my physical/psychological needs. Basically, what would my perfect life be based on what I can actually accomplish? How can I make money doing what I enjoy doing and what is that lifestyle like? What's the rules and boundaries for the relationships I choose to have on all different levels?

Then I establish my Direct Path to my Ultimate Goal with all the short term goals that'll lead me to every aspect of my Ultimate goal. That Ultimate goal is my highest potential.

walle4u23 karma

Thank you, that answered the questions I had. I wish you a very good luck (if you believe in such) in life.

RyanPettigrew2 karma


my_pw_is_123cat2 karma

It seems to me that the techniques used in a situation like solitary confinement in which you truly have all the free time in the world, and few outside stressors or obligations, would prove useless or unmanageable in the real world.

RyanPettigrew4 karma

Actually, there are way more stressors in solitary confinement than in the real world. Imagine that you had no control over your water, when you shower, your food, when you get to make phone calls, etc and the ones in charge of those things saw you as sub-human scum so they abused this power. You never knew when they'd mess with your food, you couldn't make plans to use the phone since they purposely messed up phone times, they'd deny your showers, turn your water off whenever they wanted or refused to give you toilet paper when you had to take a bowel movement. Imagine if you were sick and medical refused to see you or they prescribed medication that caused serious problems and wouldn't fix it. Imagine that all day long you heard people screaming and it echoed in your cell or when you talked to your family, you were powerless to help them with their struggles. In fact, you were part of their struggles due to your poor choices. Then you're forced to face every demon you've ignored your whole life at once and every regret haunts you every day since all you can do is think but you can't do anything to change it. The one thing you have to look forward to is your mail but the guards mess with it, giving your letter with your family's address to your enemies or looking at sexy pictures of your lover right in front of you. Imagine if you were taken out sometimes to be tortured like I was for a 24 hour period.

I used to be amazed by the petty things that people in the real world would stress about while I was in there and even more so now. I'm one of the calmest people I know since nothing that happens out here can ever compare to what I've been through and the people around me have benefited greatly by my walking them through their perceptions of the potential problems.

loremipsumloremipsum2 karma

Are you George Bluth?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Who is that?

anxshay2 karma

Did you have thoughts of suicide or ever attempt it? If you did, how did you cope with it in such a negative environment and was their a psychologist or psychiatrist in the jail for suicidal prisoners?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

Suicide entered my mind as a possible solution but I never seriously considered it accept during the 24 hour period of torture I went through. We had prison psychologists but most view us as sub-human like the guards did. The mental health system in prison is set up so poorly that it doesn't help anyone. You go through the initial stages with a doctor and may start talking but then you're switched to another right away and start all over. This is a constant so you never get anywhere in your treatment.

eggplantkiller2 karma

How has this experience affected your personal relationships with people? Who was the first person you saw/spoke with (outside of the prison staff) once you were released?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

This has turned me from an extroverted social person to an introverted person. I don't feel comfortable at all in social situations and have become almost a hermit, rarely leaving my home.

My mom and brother picked me up from prison and I shook all the way home.

Seviee2 karma

Hello sir,

Thanks for doing this AMA. Would like to ask 2 questions.

  1. Is there any website i can see how a solitary area/cell looks like? When i tried googling it, its not really clear.

  2. What was your average day look like, say from the moment you wake up till you sleep.

RyanPettigrew6 karma

Here's the actual prison I was in http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/11/lonely-prisoners/

The average day they'd give us breakfast through our tray slot at 6 am then I'd make my bed and clean my room before studying all morning while the rest of the inmates slept. We'd eat lunch at noon and then it would get real loud with everyone yelling between cells. All afternoon I would meditate, work out, talk to others in the vent or through the doors and then fish items between cells. We'd gamble on everything in there so I ran a sports book. At night I'd watch tv or read a book. We'd also get showers and rec time 5 days per week but the times would change. SO we'd get cuffed up and taken to the shower and the rec room, which was another cell with a pull up bar and grated window. That's the extent of our life in there.

Luxy912 karma


RyanPettigrew4 karma

Not while I was in there but when I got out of prison, anything good that happened, even small things would be too much and I'd start crying. It was almost as if since I had found happiness in a miserable situation, anything good was overwhelming.

palebluesea1 karma

Wow I really understand that. Are you still very emotional? Or not as much as when you first got out?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I was only like that for a few weeks really bad then calmed down. I was back to normal emotionally in a few months.

Bacon_Jam2 karma

How was the food?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

HORRIBLE. I now tested allergic to dairy, whey, bananas, cod, grapefruit, casein, eggs, coffee and chocolate.

Kangaroo_humper2 karma

In what area of the world did you serve your time? Was there any chance to make new friends or talk to anyone like guards/prisoners/visitors?

RyanPettigrew6 karma

I was in Colorado. We could talk to other inmates through the doors, toilets and vents so we made friends but never had contact.

Kangaroo_humper2 karma

Was this against the rules?

RyanPettigrew2 karma


Kangaroo_humper2 karma

I watched this documentary on netflix there was a technique called fishing and it was where someone would throw a piece of paper out and inmates would exchange notes and drawings, did this happen?

RyanPettigrew4 karma

Are you referring to the documentary at the Colorado State Penitentiary? I was there when they filmed that and know most of the guys in that documentary.

Fishing was an every day part of my life in there. We actually would make weights with a flattened tube of toothpaste on a string. We also learned to fish through the toilets.

Kangaroo_humper2 karma

yes I was! and wow that is incredible. Was it hard to do? how long did it take to master?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

It's really easy to learn but I got good enough that I could fish with other pods.

LS_D1 karma

man the 'lines' that get shot around a unit at night are nothing short of amazing!

I've seen people send bags of boiling water from one cell to another! That was quite common in fact and just one of many transfers!

RyanPettigrew3 karma

I know, or food being sent down the toilets. It's crazy how creative people are in there. They can get around any obstacle.

Spade4902 karma

Hi, I actually remember my dad talking about you before. He was a prison guard at CTCF and he had heard about you going back to a prison to talk to the inmates, I can't remember which prison exactly, but he was saying how once you went back and started talking, you sort of "regressed" back to acting like an inmate. He said the way you spoke and acted changed once you were speaking to everyone. Is this true? If so, did you even notice? Was just being back inside enough to change you?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

He must be talking about someone else because I'm still on parole so they won't let me talk to prisons.

NurseRadshit1 karma

I am an aspiring correctional officer. I really appreciate you taking time to answer questions, and your story is amazing!

How did the prison staff treat you before and after SC? Did you ever hallucinate?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

The solitary confinement never affected how the prison staff treated me, that remained a constant. Overall, they did everything they could to prevent progress and treated me like a sub-human the entire time. To remain objective, there were some extremely honorable staff that I'm still friends with today but they never last long because they're harassed by the majority of the prison staff for looking sympathetic/soft towards sub-humans. The only real difference while I was in solitary confinement was that the ones that truly hated us, had absolute control over our basic necessities and absolute power absolutely corrupts. They would deny toilet paper or mess with our food/water until we snapped then use that as an opportunity to call us the bad guy. Not saying we were innocent victims but I see guards as nothing but another gang but they hide behind their badge. If you ever heard about the Stanford experiment, you'll know what I mean. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

I never had visual hallucinations beyond seeing movement out of the corner of my eye but I don't think it was a psychological thing, I think it stems from the sensory deprivation but then again, I'm no expert. Good questions.

kangnam1 karma

Have you met anyone in the world that you feel like can understand and relate to your 8 years in solitary?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

A few people that I know from solitary confinement got out and are trying to lead positive lives but other than that, no. I know there are other similar situations like kidnap victims or POW's but haven't met anyone personally.

kangnam1 karma

Thank you for your response! I didn't really think that kidnap victims or POW's would have really similar experiences. Good luck with your life, business, and all other aspirations in your life!!

RyanPettigrew1 karma


Wastelandic1 karma

How badly did the lack of sunlight affect your eyesight? How did you feel stepping out for the first time?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

My eyesight is still very good, the only issues I had with it was seeing movement that wasn't there out of the corner of my eyes but I think that's more from the sensory deprivation than the lack of sunlight. The sunlight deprivation caused other problems though. I was in constant cold sweats the last six months I was in solitary confinement and we couldn't figure out what was wrong, I seriously became concerned that I might be dying and since medical doesn't really care in there, I figured it would be undiagnosed. Even my psychologist, who really did care, had no answers. Except right when I was released, the sunlight made me feel alive and the cold sweats stopped after the first day. Here's a blog post I wrote about my release. http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/11/freedom/

Noisy_Toy1 karma

Are you familiar with the writings of Bo Lozoff and the Human Kindness Foundation?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

No, what's that all about?

Noisy_Toy1 karma

Treating incarcerated time as an ashram. Check them out.

RyanPettigrew1 karma

Oh nice, I'll have to look at that

jaguilar941 karma

It's like you're a guru! Anyway my question is, what did you do to stay sane and do they let you do activities while in solitary confinement ? I.E. reading, painting, etc.??

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I studied philosophy, psychology, real estate investing and business to keep my mind active. I exercised and meditated to release stress/anxiety. They let us read, exercise and watch tv in our cells by ourselves.

IronMacks1 karma

PLEASE HELP! I am currently writing a finals paper about solitary confinement for a writing class, Is there anything you can think of/Tell me that could be useful for me or anything you want the public to know?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

The people need to know that this issue isn't only about whether or not criminal deserve this, it's about how this puts them in danger. You can't torture someone for years and not teach them how to be productive citizens then all of a sudden release them back to their negative environment or a homeless shelter angry and ignorant thinking that they're going to magically act better. Especially when no one will hire them because they don't have job skills and their criminal record. So they return to crime but are more violent than before and society is victimized again.

OctoberRust121 karma

As someone who was only in solitary for 2 weeks, I give you so much credit for putting up with that shit for 8 years! Glad you seem to be doing something with your life now in days! I too was a drug dealer, but cleaned up and leading a normal life now. Congrats!

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Congrats to you, it's not easy making that change. You should be proud of yourself and I'm glad you're not quite the idiot I was in needing 8 years of it to get my mind right. Cheers

_ProphetofHate_1 karma

I'm not sure if you're still answering questions, but I'll give it a shot.

I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to prison in general. When you're in Solitary Confinement, did you never come out of your "cell" the whole eight years?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

The only time I came out was when they cuffed me up to take me to the shower or rec room, which were both other cells. Here's the prison I was in. http://amadmanspathtoreason.com/2013/07/11/lonely-prisoners/

pizdobol1 karma

How did you meet Brandon Thatch? He's on fire!

Congrats on turning your life around and best of luck with all your endeavors!

RyanPettigrew2 karma

He bought a dog from our kennel and our kennel and clothing line sponsored him. Our logo was on his banner from the Thiago-Thatch fight. In fact, I was just in the Rukus Apparel Commercial that came out today. http://vimeo.com/81767880

wwwpastacom1 karma

Did you have any form of human contact whatsoever? Phone calls, talk to others through walls, anything?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I could make a few phone calls a month and talked to others through the doors and vents.

CaptainIndustry1 karma

Did you ever plot an escape or think about it?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

No because escape from solitary confinement wasn't possible plus I could never see my family again.

the-y1 karma

I guess this AmA is already over, but in case you see this I would be very interested to hear what the selection of books you had access to was like. I know that if I was in such a position, reading and studying would be the only things that could keep me somewhat sane. Did your prison have an extensive library, with books you could actually study instead of just light entertainment literature?

RyanPettigrew2 karma

The prison library had a lot of books was outdated with all the business books. I read everything I could regarding business, real estate investing, psychology and philosophy. I really got into reading Ayn Rand.

gdaman221 karma

What is one piece of accuse you would give to someone before they first every prison?

RyanPettigrew8 karma

The advice would be different for different people. If it was someone who was living the criminal life I would tell them that the criminal life is a facade and they're about to be a pawn. If they just made a mistake, I would tell them to lay low in prison and study all they can so their time isn't wasted.

beachballtobeachbody1 karma

Having spent this much time away from people, can you describe people in one word for me?

RyanPettigrew3 karma


pezpants0 karma

You did 8 years consecutively?

RyanPettigrew1 karma

I actually did 9 years consecutively but only 8 of that in solitary confinement.

The_Shape_Shifter-7 karma

I'm not interested in what solitary confinement has done for you. I want to know what you have done and plan to do for your many victims?

RyanPettigrew3 karma

The people I intimidated were other drug dealers trying to rob us so I don't consider them victims at all, especially since they continued a life of crime and are in prison right now. The people I sold drugs to were adults who chose to use drugs, which is their right to do.

My victims are my family, who suffered for my actions and I have brought them into my businesses to pay them back for all that I have done wrong. And society as a whole is rewarded with the fact that I no longer commit crime and help others find inner peace and their highest potential.

The_Shape_Shifter1 karma

Fair comment and thanks for sharing. It was unclear to me whether you realised that your actions were harmful or whether you felt you are the victim. It seems to be a little of both, which I suppose is how life is.

It's great that you are helping your family out and have also helped other people on to a positive path. Obviously it goes without saying that it is also good that you no longer commit crime.

I just wanted to add that I think that the drug dealers and users you refer to are also victims. Not in the innocent sense, but victims none-the-less. More often than not it is a culmination of many unfortunate events that lead one on to such destructive paths. Yes, it remains a choice, but having said that, I don't think many (if any?) drug dealers and users set out in life to become that.

You have been through the mill. You know the full extent of the consequences of such actions. You could perhaps be a strong beacon of hope to exactly those sorts of people, and perhaps in saving them from the life you chose you will find your own peace.

RyanPettigrew2 karma

Thanks. I'm trying to save people from that lifestyle and trying hard to bring inner peace to everyone I can.