It's clear to anyone who's spent even a moment pondering the city's busted penal system that reforms—dramatic and yes, costly—are desperately needed; that sweeping low-level offenders into the city's over-stuffed jails and tossing the mentally ill into solitary confinement has, in the course of history, helped approximately no one.

A new plan by the de Blasio administration aims to take the first step in overhauling a toxic cycle of arrest, release and re-arrest of the drug addicted and mentally ill, with $130 million to be allocated to various programs over the next four years. The funds would primarily be dedicated to both an increase in pretrial diversion programs, as well as the decidedly trickier task of easing the transition out of jail and back into society.

Specifically, the project calls for arrestees to receive more thorough mental health screenings prior to their arraignment, with the potential to move out of the court system and instead into treatment programs. Low-level offenders unlikely to make bail would also be entitled to supervised pretrial programs, and community services will be offered to thousands more mentally ill inmates upon being released from jail. Recently released inmates will be given help accessing Medicaid, the Human Resources Administration and other services, and an additional 267 housing slots will be made available through the Department of Homeless Services to ease the pressure on shelters, emergency rooms and jails.

The suggested protocols are based on the findings of a task force, formed after a series of investigations revealed staggering levels of systemic abuse at Rikers Island, during which horrific details surrounding the death of mentally ill inmate Bradley Ballard were revealed.

“For years, the criminal justice system has been the default for dealing with behavioral and mental health issues, but that approach alone does not best serve public health or public safety,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This comprehensive plan to identify and divert individuals out of the criminal justice system and connect them with treatment and services to address their underlying issues will mean not only safer streets, but stronger neighborhoods and healthier people.”

The plan is the next step in de Blasio's recent efforts to decriminalize non-violent crime like prostitution and drug use, the goal being to funnel fewer people into the city's clogged and, in many cases, dysfunctional jail system.

The reforms would be financed by $40 million in asset forfeiture funds from Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, and another $90 million from the city's budget.