A hundred prisoners have been approved for temporary release from prison, said the NI Prison Service.
As part of an emergency plan to deal with Covid-19, they will be released by Monday.
The regime applies to individuals during the last three months of their sentence and further releases are expected to follow.
Justice Minister Naomi Long approved the decision on Monday – those convicted of crimes like murder or domestic violence are not eligible.
She said the final numbers should be less than 200.
There are approximately 1,500 prisoners in Northern Ireland.
About 200 prison guards are currently absent from work due to coronavirus precautions and visits to the three prisons in Northern Ireland have been canceled.