President Maithripala Sirisena has pardoned 661 prisoners serving time around the country for minor offences on the occasion of the Vesak.
The Department of Prisons said 597 prisoners who have been convicted for minor offences under the Penal Code have been granted Presidential pardon and released while the remaining 64 prisoners who were convicted of more than one crime, received pardon for one of their crimes.
Among the released prisoners were five female inmates, according to the authorities.
The President has given the order after the Ministry of Prisons Reforms recommended the release.
The inmates had been selected after a proposal made by the Prison Reforms Minister D M Swaminathan to the Justice Ministry following a list prepared by the Prisons Department.
However, inmates accused of severe crimes such as terror activities, coup against the state, rape as well as crimes against children will not be pardoned, an official said.