Zimbabwe is releasing all convicted female prisoners except for a few who are serving life sentences.

Prison officials said Thursday that the amnesty granted by President Robert Mugabe is part of moves to decongest overpopulated jails.

Prisons spokeswoman Priscilla Mthembo says 139 women were freed from the biggest female prison on Wednesday. She says only two women with life sentences remain there.

Mthembo says all male minors are also being released.

She says Zimbabwe's jails have a capacity for 17,000 inmates but are holding more than 19,000.

Zimbabwean prisoners and officials have often complained about food shortages and other dire conditions in dilapidated jails.