The journal of Daniel Snyder


I just might be doing this journal the wrong way. I can only in my mind write it as a letter. I am trying to psych myself into the theme essay. I hope I am up to the challenge. As a child I was home schooled up until I had taken the "Good Enough Degree." I see now looking back that was the only choice my parents had I had literally caused too many problems. I made every wrong choice possibly for me to make. I wouldn't have what education I now have had my parents not done so. A.D.H.D., Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, not to mention dyslexia, learning disability, are problems I still struggle with daily. As a child in school I had my left hand tied behind my back cause the teacher was mad I kept using both hands trying to learn to write in school.

P.S. To Gary, I hounded my mother to give these canning and jarring recipes. I hope my humble submitting to you Gary gives you a smile. In truth I wanted to do something for you. All the memories I have of canning and jarring give me warm feelings when you talk of your garden I so enjoy it. Please try these. With love and admiration for all you and your kind volunteers do.-D-


Being a loner growing up a nonsibling household, it's hard to find myself putting my thoughts and feelings here, and though it may be on computer for all to see, it's unsettling. But, I feel if this helps someone even as low as me, so be it. I can honestly say prison has put the important parts of my life to the fore, the truth be told. As I heard said, "I don't care enough about you to lie." I am not stuck up to say the least, what do I have to be self-centered about? I do have an older sister, my mother's first child, but she has no love it feels, for me. When I was adopted out of Methodist Mission Home in San Antonio, TX, she was in her teens (13). I would like only to know should I have half brothers and sisters. But alas, the means are beyond me. In my heart I have only one mother and father. I'll claim no other. Biological be damned. There also is a concern if any specific illness is heredity on my mind. My..... I only have one way. I'll jump in both feet first or not. I can't do half steps. Another reproach to myself.

P.S. I won't go in to a excuse for my chicken scratch handwriting but I do have a handicap on my right hand.


I hate having to deal with "these people." I understand they must do their job but as mine, I must bitch and moan just to receive my due be it a clean set of clothes for that day or not be denied a hot meal and told to go to my building. Why must things be so complicated? I have seen time and again inmates now treated like dirt. My family can't understand why I'm so cynical and bitter. Can you imagine having to strip ass naked on the concrete in a snow/sleet storm because someone angered a guard? I've had to stand these and others as punishment to us. I will not hold my tongue or any other type shit. 9:18PM I finally heard back from my mother. It's wearing on her since my father's death. It truly is hard on my behalf. I feel guilty for not being there to support her. I can't imagine to even guess how hurt she must be. Mom called Daddy her best friend. I only wish I could be there for her. The prison is just now at this late in the evening calming down. We had close to 200 chain bus moves today. Some units in Beaumont, TX went back on line. Their inmates who were sent here have gone back. Well I have to return my mail tonight. I always try to answer letters the day I receive them, Peace out.

The Best From East Texas - Jarring & Pickling Recipe, for Gary 
Dill Pickle 
2 quarts vinegar 
4 quarts water 
1/2 cup salt 
Alum the size of a pecan also dill, onions, garlic, all same size 
Bring other items, vinegar, water, salt, alum to a boil 
Pour overall items into jars & seal in class while still at high heat 
Pickling Syrup 
5 cups sugar 
5 cups white vinegar 
1 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric 
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 
2 tablespoons white mustard seed 
Mix and let all ingredients boil 
Put cucumbers in sterilized jars and immediately pour boiling syrup over them 
Seal immediately 
Louisiana Pickles 
1 gallon unpeeled washed cucumbers 
3 large white onions sliced thin 
3 bell or hot peppers 
1/2 cup salt 
Crushed ice 
Slice all cucumbers, onions, peppers 
Mix with salt in large pan & cover with crushed ice 
Let stand for 3 hours 
Drain ice water, just before 3 hours are up, prepare syrup and add to jars full to overflow while scalding hot into jars of pickles 
Seal jars as soon as can handle hot jar 


Well hell, I have started and stopped this entry a handful of times. I will complete this tonight. It's close to the turkey day meal here and I have my bribe money ready for this meal. There is always something to be had with "food stamps" as the postage is called. I plan on getting my hands on a bag o'turkey and making a big meal later that day. I am just now at 7PM shaking off the day's frustration.

I would tell of the day in & day out but you would insist it were fiction. I struggle each day to be positive. I can't feed into the negativity. I will be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the morning recreation in the morning workout. I have to in order to sleep well at night. The unit here as of last week they have lifted the restricted visits. As they finished the big to do and the death row that caused the 20 day lockdown and shake down after they made the news. I really keep my mind right now also by keeping with my own correspondence studies, even though I refuse to make anymore profit for the state than possible. Not being negative (in my defense) but I try to keep interaction to a minimum- (interaction with the gray (guards)). So hello and good bye to the P.E. program. Please bear with me about the consistency.


Well I was placed on cell restriction for not being on time for two "lay-in-pass" to programming. (medical boat room). Just 40 days of only leaving the cell for meals and medical only. Well I feel that I am truly institutionalized to where its close to all the same. In cell, dayroom, well, I guess it does hurt me a good hit worse on the yard seeing the clouds roll by. I used to always be somedays done with my work day by sunset. I would have a cold beer and a fresh rolled cigarette. They say one of the fresh rolled cigs were equal to one pack of packaged type. My short term memory is shot. I must've consumed tons all my lonesome. But I've never had a drug problem. I destroyed my life, no problem. Well they played a good factor. Now shame claims a good factor of my reproach of myself. Nothing hurts like the truth.

I've been told I have no conscience but would I not be unable to have remorse if that were so? It may be a tad polluted. Who can be sure? What's to base my opinion against? Surely I am biased myself. I am all out of useless info now. There is no such thing as rehabilitation in Texas, unless you take it upon yourself to do so.


I was told as a child there are some topics just not to be discussed outside of the home. I do see the wisdom of this but cannot defeat the lure of telling an idiot that he is an idiot. And no I don't listen to myself either.

I am a firm believer of God (one and only), the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost & other issues. While I lost all restraint and concern for myself after incarceration I have no problem speaking my mind now. The first is of the premonition. I do lose myself at times in details but bear with me. I literally am working with an idiot.

The most recent premonition comes to mind.

I am ashamed to say. Physically I was not there but it still happened. I saw a gathering and many people were crying an a few were whispering in conversation. I was in the dream at my father's funeral. My ex-wife and daughter were there. I had at this moment in time seen my daughter only once in the 10 years of her life outside of pictures. My mother was leaned over with hurt and agony and it was a blow to feel her emotion. All of this in one dream. This dream came while my father was still alive. I have not spoken to anyone of this until now. I will not further shame myself into speaking of it to my family but I did write a letter that next day. Everything was fine. All's well in the return letter.

Only a couple months later it came to pass. I am wasting away in prison while my mother lays my father to rest. My mother's first child would not accept the emergency collect call made by me at the chaplain's office. She told the chaplain I should call her (my mother) later. She (mother) is still sick and hung up the phone.

What could you imagine I had to her for such hatred towards me? Did I sell her only child into slave labor in China? No, truth be told she feels I am the "favorite" so she is jealous. It's another ramble on but I'll try to return to my topic. Another dream while at county comes to mind is a visit with my folks at county jail. I am telling my folks that I feel I will be put away for a long time. My father tells me "you have never been in trouble you won't get more than 10 to 12 years even if they convict you, the important thing is to tell the truth." So I told the truth and received Texas Justice. My first chance at parole is December 17, 2020. That is half of my sentence, 22 1/2 years is half of 45 agg. on a crime I gave a voluntary 2 page videotaped statement which was not allowed in my trial.

How could that be so? Aren't we not allowed any and all defense in our own trial? Evidently not. How could I claim that a judge would be influencing my case I asked for a change of venue. Seven years later, after my claim at trial X- Judge Howard Tilly was charged with judicial misconduct. He can practice law in Texas no more or nor anywhere else ever again.


I fully expect for any conversation in here to be B.S. The saying in here is don't believe any of what you hear and half of what you see. After 10 years through it's pretty hard for someone to "run game" on me. Believe me I have seen some sad sad things. I was asked once by another white guy "don't you have any pride?" (for the race he means). I stated pride is one of the seven deadly sins in my Bible. I am always willing to talk of God and my relationship but quick to listen for the anger should they think wrong I'm judging them. A very truthful passage in my Bible goes "Proverbs 14:13" UJV: Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness." Another I can "feel" as we say in here is, Ecclesiastics 1:18 - For much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increase sorrow, UJV. A saying in here is laugh now cry later.

I won't start to preach here. Had been doing right and being right I wouldn't have these issues. But would I be the man I am now? Now, surely not.


This year has nearly come to a close. Time flys. I can't believe my last breath of "freedom" was over 10 years ago. We usually call that the free world. What did you do in the free world? What are you going back to in the free world" I can't myself reach back and feel what it means to be free. Sounds like BS but no I can't remember a dream I've had that has not one aspect of prison. The last dream I can remember after waking, I'm sitting on a bus stop bench waiting for it (free world). Some lady is talking to me about some work she wants done in her house and I hear the air horn (can't whistle). I get up saying it's count time and I have to go.


Really, this should be, the world according to Duff. I was named Daniel, raised as Danny and neither as of today. I use my grandfather's name (last) because it's what I feel. No one could believe, accept, or fathom the changes you go through. How would you feel if you were with 300 or so inmates and one says to you "you're to be my punk" and unless you settle that, make that fellow, who will never leave that it's "respect or fear." His choice. I was a white man who turned 27 in county jail. I have seen guys tried day after day after day, until the majority whites feel that you will "get down for yours" that they will stop the "back door" fights. Back door fights are an attempt to see if you will break weak. My first was Allred, Iowa Park, TX. There was a lawsuit brought by the ACLU against Texas for a fellow who was forced to prostitute for protection. Texas ruled agains him. This was well after I had reached TDCJ, Allred unit, known inside the walls as a gladiator farm. I probably have six to seven disciplinary cases for possession of sharpened steel. There was an open door policy. At 7AM each day when the 10 times a day count cleared the control picket would announce "the floor is now open." All cell doors would then open. All section doors as well. Had you no respect it was not uncommon for someone to run in 3 to 4 deep and take what you had. Be it commissary, property or your "cookies" (virginity/backside). You learn real quick that you made an example of jungle. 12-19-Journal, I have spent the day in attempt to get myself into a positive state of mind. Lord willing my mother will get to come for a visit. Tomorrow, Saturday the 20th, I was told to expect her. I'll put on a happy face for her. My only peace inside is when I read the word, have exhausted myself and fall into dead sleep or do a few solid hours of repetitive meditation, yoga, or hurt myself with all the above. I find peace only when I can withdraw into these.


They stopped selling all candy (hard candy) they found someone had made a batch of wine and used hard candy for sugar. It works, not as good as the real thing but still. I had the hobby of wine making before prison so I am ahead of most. I'd dare not drink any other than mine. I expect a letter from mom tomorrow. I have another I look for but don't expect "Dallas" to write. Though she calls my mom and demands updates I don't really thing she has true feelings. I believe it's the idea of "felon" has her. She was much too careless with my feelings. I couldn't mean more to her were I a worker at a car wash she stopped at. I asked total honesty. I gave the same.


I heard back from the newspaper article lady. I was given an address to a registry for adoptees and biological folks. I will write and request their forms for my permission and registry this weekend. I still have no word from my daughter, of course. close to the 10AM count. I feel great this morning after my workout yesterday. Surely had the workout been known someone would ask what that was and then I would have to answer questions of "you know how to right?" I can't believe how easily I blister up. You would think I never knew a day's hard work. How does the song go? "live like you were dying." No one is promised tomorrow. Be thoughtful for today. It may be all you have. 1-9-9 Let's give you a glimpse of the insanity that is day in and day out. I have to go to the pill window that the medical department dispenses out each day. There as well as anything are set times. If you work for the prison, I don't, but if you do you can go to the pill window as late as 5:30 close to 6PM as you do get off work. The rules state evening pill window doesn't close until then. Now I had to go to the pill window very last on my building due to my using the toilet at pill call. You may only enter and leave you cell once per hour or at an guard secretion. When I showed up very last at 2PM to the pill window the guard gave a rarely used "informal resolution." He told me I could go to the pill window and receive an "out of place" case or do without. Now for someone who needs their meds this is not an option, so I received the case. The building rank major prison guard allowed the case to not only be filed but graded it major. Possible loosing my good time earned status as a custody loss, I was forced to use the system against them. I wrote to the medical director here on the unit. She told me guards do not dictate medical times on policy.


Though the case went through the motions up until the "kangaroo court" as we call it, once they heard that the medical director said that the guard don't change times or pill window rules they dragged their feet 2 days and eventually told me they dropped the case. In my close to 11 years in the system this is only the second case I have ever beat. It is hard to do.

In the face of senseless flux of rule interpretation, they only follow the rules when it suits them. But you had better not dare quote their rules on them I honestly expect retaliation on this case. Their have been lawsuits won on this alone. One guard told me himself "I would line you all up and shoot every one of you." I told him I wouldn't waste a bullet on him. A worse punishment for him in my eyes is to leave him to his own. Some fate is worse than torture. I am a living testimony. I would rather live under a bridge digging ditches or doing manual labor by the day and sleeping in the dirt. I would, myself. But there are some you would not believe, don't want to leave here. I know an old white guy in here. He has been in prison over 34 years flat and I have seen him discipline to beat himself out of parole. I feel sorry for him. I can see and feel his pain and I know the hurt and fear he must feel. It's a shame about the systematic dehumanization they practice. Some who work here feel it's part of their job to make our lives as aweful as they can. I could tell you even worse examples but then they wouldn't allow this to go out.


How do you know your institutionalized? Been in prison too long? My definition is this. You stop having dreams about being free. I have ; in a bit of time, years. So long I don't remember having a dream without one prison reference. The closest I can remember I was in the dreams sitting on a park bench in some unknown place telling to some girl. Just talk about nothing. No romance, general BS. All of a sudden the whistle blows (all prisons in daylight hours) (in Texas). As the steam whistle goes off I look to the girl and tell her "I have to go it's count time." Isn't that sad? I just found out the "my space" website is free! The big thing in here is having a pen pal to write to. So many in here have no one who is caring about them. You can't imagine being in here, cut off from nearly everything. Texas, I understand is the last to have phones installed in TDC. Yes we were allowed to before one collect call your family every 90 days. The calls (5 minutes) only if you are discipline case free. But now we will get to buy minute phone cards at the prison commissary. The last collect call I made home (less than 200 miles) was close to $30.00. Needless to say I don't make many more calls that way.


Imagine your worst scenario in prison. Then I'll tell you what is not what you think. One of my worse in my memory is this. In early 99 I was on the unit that now houses the Death Row. Then, though, they did not. We had water trouble, as in none. No water, no showers, all hot meals unless out your cell locker were out. Also all toilets were useless. For more than 2 weeks we were on a ration of 2 gallons per day, per cell no exceptions. Showers were out unless you and your cellmate worked together and shared the two gallons. You could wash yourself one day share the water left and your celly wash and share your water the next. But there's one problem. Although showers were out your bodily functions won't be. We were forced to choose. Either fill the toilet or fill the empty stack of meals with waste. The choice was simple. But the other end was the guard would not remove the disposal bags. It got so bad with the excrement and food pieces there were rats, ants and flies living off the 3 foot high by 10 foot or so pile of smelly trash.

The guys living on 1 row were forced to light a fire to burn the junk. That was their choice but given no other option I would do that instead of living that close to a live sewer, but and rat farm. How would you feel having to smell that all day? Having to put cotton in your nose so you can eat? I probably would've been first to light it up. I won't sit and smell that all day disciplinary case be damned. I will touch base today. 2-26-9 but I'll go back to my first day nin days ago in solitary confinement 2-18-9 I wrote a formal complaint about my trying to get a sealed legal letter out on 2.18 only to be put in solitary confinement a few hours after mail was picked up. Inmates are supposed to be able to send a sealed unread legal letter out of the prison to any lawyer, judge, court, legal group, media, and one or two others. I tried myself to send a sealed legal letter unread by the units mailroom. Now unread also means the mailroom hs no chance to prevent the letter going out due to content. It just so happens that my legal letter was to another TDCJ official in Huntsville, Texas. Huntsville is the Administration home of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The screening issue they used was an inmate (myself) cannot write to an "Ombudsman" as his title is. Now the letter was returned to me unopened and denied because I can't write him. A lowly inmate would dare to write to a TDC official! So I wrote a formal complaint. The grievance I wrote was packed with rules they only follow when it suits them. But!? The retaliation htat followed only hours after the mail was picked up is/was a doozy! Of our building was full there would be almost 1300 inmates. Yet at 8AM an hour after almost all thirteen hundred are trying to get into the commissary line a slovenly guard comes all the way to 3 row to search my cell down. Yes stranger things have happened but after questioning the offending guard he in front of the entire dayroom told of a call from 1 building (Administration) on the unit to search my cell. I don't play games with these people so when two of their "intelligence" group guards came to me with this wanna be psychology I turned it on them. I had the guard so mad he put me in handcuffs, took me to solitary confinement and nine days later, today the 26th the best it appears they can come up with is a case for contraband. Petty ass knick knack, glue, tape, medical soap stuff I really am not supposed to have. But in the process they are retaliating for my complaining for the interfering in my legal mail. 12-26-9 I could have avoided all this and not complained and still mailed the letter out through (truck mail) as I did anyhow. No I had to rip and roar and cause a fuss. The only way to beat these people is by using their rules. They only follow them when It suits their needs anyhow. To be continued...