President David Granger will pardon at least 60 prisoners when Guyana celebrates its 49th anniversary of political independence from Britain today.
Granger, who was elected head of state in the May 11 general election, said that the pardon will be for prisoners between the ages 18 and 25.
"I believe that young people should be in school, not in jail. And I have asked that emphasis be placed on young persons and for petty non-violent offences and sentences of short duration.
"You have a man in jail for stealing a cell phone; go thy way and sin no more. The offences are really petty. I hope that they get back in school, get to work and get on with their lives. They don't belong in jail, they belong in school, at home with their families and being happy," Granger said.
He said he had particularly asked for female offenders, "but apparently the females have not been misbehaving at the same rate as the males.
"At first I asked for females only but it turned out that there were a very small number of females who had actually committed minor offences", adding that he intends to grant an amnesty every year.
However, he insisted that people who have been convicted for crimes of violence will not be eligible for consideration.
There has been widespread criticism of the decision by former President Donald Ramotar to pardon a convicted child killer before he left office.
"That's a crime of violence. The crime for which the person was convicted was one of violence, so there will be none of that in my administration," Granger said.