U.S. forces have released more than 300 Iraqis from the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, a day after U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited the jail at the center of the prisoner abuse scandal.

The former inmates -- some of them weeping and waving to friends -- were released Friday, as part of a program to reduce the number of inmates to between 1500 and 2,000 by the end of next month.

Meanwhile, published reports say one of the U.S. soldiers to be court martialed for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners has offered to plead guilty and could testify against the six other soldiers so far charged in the case.

The reports say military policeman Jeremy Sivits has provided investigators with a detailed account of soldiers laughing and joking as they beat, stripped, and sexually humiliated detainees.

On Thursday, Mr. Rumsfeld toured the Abu Ghraib prison, and met with U.S. military officials about conditions at the facility. The defense secretary told U.S. troops that photographs showing soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners have sullied America's reputation, but he vowed that those responsible will be brought to justice. Abu Ghraib is the largest U.S.-run detention facility in Iraq.