Gov. Jay Inslee is suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state.

The Democrat says he came to the decision after months of review and hopes his action will enable the state to join what he calls "a growing national conversation about capital punishment."

According to a draft statement obtained by The Associated Press, Inslee says the death penalty is applied inconsistently and unequally.

The governor's staff briefed lawmakers about the move on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Inslee's moratorium means that if a death penalty case comes to his desk, he will issue a reprieve, which is not a pardon and does not commute the sentences of those condemned to death.