Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that he had suspended the death penalty until he reviews a report on capital punishment in the state.

“This moratorium is in no way an expression of sympathy for the guilty on death row, all of whom have been convicted of committing heinous crimes,” Wolf said in a statement. “This decision is based on a flawed system that has been proven to be an endless cycle of court proceedings as well as ineffective, unjust, and expensive.”

This announcement comes as the death penalty’s use across the country has declined considerably in recent years, with executions and death sentences both dropping well below numbers seen in the last two decades.

Pennsylvania has not executed an inmate since 1999 and has carried out only three executions since 1976, making it one of the least-active states with the death penalty. Yet the state also has one of the largest populations of death-row inmates.

There are 186 people currently on death row in the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections said, trailing only California, Florida, Texas and Alabama.

Some of Pennsylvania’s inmates have been there for more than three decades. A series of governors have signed hundreds of death warrants over the last three decades, and dozens of inmates have had their names on at least three of these warrants. One inmate, Mark Spotz, has had six death warrants signed since 1998. He is currently in the state prison in Waynesburg.

Inmates are regularly spared following appeals and court stays. In his order Friday, Wolf defended the necessity of the review process while also saying that the state’s sytem was “riddled with flaws.”

“This unending cycle of death warrants and appeals diverts resources from the judicial system and forces the families and loved ones of victims to relive their tragedies each time a new round of warrants and appeals commences,” Wolf wrote in the order. “The only certainty in the current system is that the process will be drawn out, expensive, and painful for all involved.”

The Pennsylvania State Senate established a task force and advisory commission on capital punishment in 2011, charging them with exploring whether there is bias or unfairness involved in the trials and sentencing, the potential risks of sentencing innocent people to death and whether the death penalty does anything to improve public safety or deter criminal action.

Wolf said that the moratorium announced Friday “will remain in effect until this commission has produced its recommendation and all concerns are addressed satisfactorily.”