NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has severed ties with a contractor that reportedly used prison labor to make calls for his presidential campaign.

The online news site The Intercept reported Tuesday that Bloomberg’s campaign contracted a New Jersey-based call center company that, in at least one instance, used Oklahoma inmates to make calls on behalf of the billionaire’s campaign.

A Bloomberg campaign spokesperson said the campaign doesn’t believe in the practice and was unaware of the arrangement.

“We only learned about this when the reporter called us, but as soon as we discovered which vendor’s subcontractor had done this, we immediately ended our relationship with the company and the people who hired them,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The spokesperson added that the campaign is asking its vendors to “more properly vet their subcontractors.”

Bloomberg has come under fire from criminal justice reform advocates for his support for controversial tough-on-crime policies while mayor of New York.

He launched his presidential campaign with an apology for his embrace of stop-and-frisk policing tactics, which give police wide latitude to detain individuals suspected of committing a crime and have been found to be used disproportionately against minorities.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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