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By Robert Nolin, Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. — Jail has been a real education for habitual offender Todd Bontrager.

“I went to jail on purpose, to study,” he told a judge Thursday.

He was promptly given opportunity to further advance his curriculum.

Bontrager, 47, was at a first appearance hearing to answer a charge of trespassing, in which he was accused of trying doors at a Florida church. Bontrager — a defendant with a history of stealing and convictions dating to 2001, and an open charge of felony theft pending — wanted to make one thing clear to County Judge John “Jay” Hurley.

“All my arrests were intentional, just to study,” the self-proclaimed psychology student said. “I went to jail on purpose, for 13 years of my life.”

“You went to prison on purpose?” asked an incredulous Hurley.

“Incarceration improves your concentration abilities,” came the reply.

Hurley then ordered Bontrager held on $1,000 bond on the trespass charge — but revoked bond on the open theft count, effectively keeping him behind bars.

“I’m going to keep you in jail so you can further concentrate,” he said.

Bontrager was upset. “You’re not gonna let me go?” he asked.

“You’re going to have plenty of time to concentrate on this case,” the judge replied.

Photo: x1klima via Flickr

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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