A homeless man pleaded with a judge to jail him so he could "wake up on his birthday somewhere warm".
Bradley Grimes had been given a four-month suspended prison sentence for breaching anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) by sleeping in shop doorways.
The 23-year-old asked the court to activate the sentence and take him off the streets.
Grimes had been sleeping rough in Middlesborough town centre for six months, the Evening Gazette reported.
He was taken into care as a seven-year-old, diagnosed with autism, and found to have a brain tumour believed to be caused by years of neglect, Teesside Crown Court heard.
A social worker told the court: “His is a very sad case, but there is no easy solution.
“At least in prison he will wake up on his birthday somewhere warm and he will be fed.”
Grimes turned up at court a day early with three bags of belongings in the hope of being jailed.
He admitted breaching the suspended sentence by contravening further ASBOs.
Aisha Wadoodi, defending, said: "He is currently homeless and has asked me for the suspended sentence to be activated.
“The only reason he is asking for that is that he finds himself in an impossible situation in that he has no home."
She told the judge Grimes had "fallen through the care system".
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC adjourned for sentencing on 9 October and remanded Grimes in custody, meaning he spent his birthday on Monday behind bars.
The judge requested an updated pre-sentence report and pledged to take a person interest in Grimes's future.
“If I give him a short sentence he will be out again, back as before," he said.