The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 1992/1, upon request of General Assembly (GA) resolution 46/152, as one of its functional commissions.

The Commission acts as the principal policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. ECOSOC provided for the CCPCJ's mandates and priorities in resolution 1992/22, which include improving international action to combat national and transnational crime and the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems. The CCPCJ also offers Member States a forum for exchanging expertise, experience and information in order to develop national and international strategies, and to identify priorities for combating crime.

The CCPCJ holds annual regular sessions as well as intersessional meetings. Towards the end of each year, the CCPCJ meets at a reconvened session to consider budgetary and administrative matters as the governing body of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme.

In 2006 the GA adopted resolution 61/252 which further expanded the mandates of the CCPCJ to enable it to function as a governing body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and to approve the budget of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund.

The CCPCJ is the preparatory body to the United Nations Crime Congresses. Declarations adopted by the congresses are transmitted through the CCPCJ and the ECOSOC to the GA for endorsement.