For over a decade, Euka Wadlington—sometimes referred to by friends as “Eukie” or “Twelve”—has been a dedicated GED course instructor, a teacher of grammar, writing, typing, and life skills, as well as an avid chess player and organizer of a chess club and community chess tournaments. Countless people credit Euka with being a source of positivity in their lives as a teacher, friend, mentor, tutor, or suicide watch companion.
Unfortunately, Euka’s exceptional skills are currently available to only a very limited audience: Euka Wadlington is currently serving two concurrent life sentences in a federal prison for non-violent drug offenses.
In December of 1998, Euka Wadlington was charged in the Southern District of Iowa with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and cocaine base (known as “crack”), actual distribution of cocaine base, and attempted distribution of cocaine. The prosecution alleged that from 1992 to approximately 1998, Euka was a supplier of cocaine and cocaine base to persons in Clinton, Iowa. Despite its substantial investigation into the matter, the government never found any drugs on Euka’s person or in his vehicle, home, or business; there was also no evidence of unexplained wealth to correspond to the money Euka was allegedly making as a drug supplier. The prosecution relied entirely on the testimony of Euka’s alleged co-conspirators and others involved in the Clinton drug scene, testifying in exchange for leniency in their own cases, to establish his guilt.
On May 10, 1999, Euka was found guilty of the conspiracy charge and the attempted distribution charge, but was acquitted of the actual distribution charge. On August 5, 1999, Euka was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences. All of Euka’s appeals from his conviction and sentence have been denied. At present, Euka is destined to spend the rest of his life in prison.
However, almost immediately upon his entry in to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Euka began immersing himself in education. Euka took various courses earned his Teacher’s Aide Apprenticeship certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. Euka then shared what he learned by teaching numerous courses. At the request of the prison staff, Euka co-created an inmate re-entry course, Criminal Lifestyle Intervention, which helps students gain the skills and emotional intelligence they will need when they re-enter society by pushing them to think critically about the choices they made that led to them being in prison.
Always looking for a way to engage others in intellectual pursuits, Euka has also developed various chess courses to bring together beginner, intermediate, and advanced level chess players, as well as a prison Chess Club. As Dr. Kent Dunnington—a philosophy professor at Greenville College who is also leader of its prison ministry—notes, Euka is a natural teacher who “… moves around the classroom energetically, encouraging his peers, instructing them, mediating between them, making them laugh—treating them each as significant equals.” Euka is often celebrated for his selflessness and genuine interest in the well being of those around him, exemplified by his patience and commitment to teaching several inmates how to read and write, and by his work as a teacher, which has helped numerous inmates obtain their GEDs.
Euka Wadlington takes full responsibility for his actions that led to his arrest and ultimately to his conviction. Euka has spent nearly 15 years in prison for a non-violent drug conviction and has spent much of that time dedicated to increasing not only his own knowledge and understanding of how to lead a fulfilling, successful, non-criminal life outside prison, but has also shared his knowledge and experience with everyone and anyone who wants to do the same.
If President Obama grants Euka’s request for commutation of his life sentences, Euka will undoubtedly continue his efforts to educate those who are at risk of either developing or continuing a criminal lifestyle by helping them gain the self-esteem, knowledge and skills necessary to give them real, positive options in life. If given the opportunity, Euka will use his experience to help save others from making the same mistakes that he made, which will benefit not only the individual, but their community, and in the long run our entire country, which so desperately needs more positive options for its citizens to achieve success and prosperity, rather than more prison cells.
Euka has helped countless people since his time in prison. Today, we have the opportunity to help Euka continue his work outside his prison walls. You can become an ambassador for Euka by sharing his story with others and downloading, printing, and collecting signatures on behalf of Euka or by signing his petition online.