Jojo Godinez grew up in L.A. County surrounded by gangs. The night he joined one, he swore to represent his gang until death. Fights, shootings, and arrests followed, but his love of violence waned through the years as more and more of his friends died around him.
Amid the bloodshed, he met a homegirl, Dalia. At just 18 years old, they married in Vegas, but their honeymoon was interrupted when a crime Jojo committed brought him into court and eventually into a 45-years-to-life sentence. On the day he was found guilty, Dalia gave birth to their son.
Suicidal, Jojo lost himself in the evils of the jail, trying to forget his former life and even his family. It was during a stint in solitary confinement that he came to terms with his need for change. He asked God for forgiveness and resolved to never fight again.
Jojo’s nonviolent rebellion against the prison culture of hatred and racism was consistently met with death threats but he was willing to risk everything for his newfound faith. In prison after prison, Jojo spread peace, while his wife, Dalia, and their son faithfully waited for the day he finally came home.
The powerful true story of Jojo Godinez shows the incredible transformation of a man once written off as nothing more than a criminal.
About the Authors
Amanda Warner spent several years volunteering in juvenile hall where she encountered the brokenness of the criminal justice system. She graduated from Biola University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has worked as a reporter, copy editor, and copywriter, unearthing stories that would otherwise go unheard. When she's not writing or editing, she loves hiking the Southern California mountains. You can visit her online at amandamwarner.com.
Jojo Godinez lives in Los Angeles County with his wife, Dalia, and their four children. Jojo was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison at age 18 but was freed at age 30. Since his release, he’s spoken in many prisons and churches, sharing what God has done in his life. From carrying around AK-47s as a 13-year-old to praying for people in the middle of a prison yard, Jojo has truly experienced God’s transforming grace.