D.C. Corrections Department officials said yesterday that drug possession was the typical crime committed by the 134 inmates released early from District prisons and halfway houses last week under the emergency law Mayor Marion Barry invoked to ease prison crowding.

The inmates, most of them men about 28 years of age, were released an average of 19 days ahead of schedule, District officials said.

Other offenses by the inmates released early from District prisons last week included carrying a pistol without a license, attempted distribution of PCP, car theft, theft, assault without a weapon, destruction of property, distribution of marijuana, prostitution, burglary, robbery, larceny, bail violation, driving while intoxicated and other driving violations.

Corrections Director Hallem H. Williams Jr., who would not release names of the inmates, said "most were convicted of misdemeanor offenses and had been sentenced to serve less than a year."

Williams asked Barry on July 3 to declare a prison emergency after District prisons exceeded capacity for more than 30 days, the threshold established in a law enacted by the D.C. Council last month.

None of the 134 inmates released last week was required to go before the parole board or be placed under supervision after leaving prison because all were serving their full terms and did not fall under the board's jurisdiction.

Barry is allowed to reduce the sentences of such inmates by 90 days or 10 percent, whichever is less. Generally, these prisoners were either denied parole at some point or chose to serve their full sentences rather than be under parole supervision later.

Barry also is permitted to reduce by 90 days the minimum sentences of inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes, making many of them eligible for parole immediately. An additional 250 inmates are eligible for early release under the accelerated parole process, corrections officials said.

Gladys Mack, chairwoman of the D.C. Parole Board, said that since the emergency was declared, the board has approved 10 inmates for early parole, denied parole to four prisoners and paroled one inmate to a federal prison to face another charge. No personal information was available yesterday about the parolees.

A total of 300 to 350 inmates could be released early under the emergency legislation, Williams said, but most are expected to go through the parole process.

District officials characterized the early prison releases yesterday as "short-term relief" for the city's jammed prisons -- nine facilities at Lorton Reformatory, the D.C. Jail and eight halfway houses.

"When the state of emergency was declared, the capacity was 7,319 and we had 7,950 inmates, which meant that the prison population was {8.6} percent above capacity," Williams said. "Today there are 7,804 inmates, which means that we are 6.6 percent over capacity."

Most of the crowding is at Lorton's three Occoquan facilities, which held 1,970 prisoners before Barry declared the prison emergency -- 689 more than the number permitted under an order by U.S. District Judge June L. Green.