The Compendium of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice contains the instruments in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice adopted by the international community in more than sixty years.
Over the years a considerable body of United Nations standards and norms related to crime prevention and criminal justice has emerged, covering a wide variety of issues such as justice for children, the treatment of offenders, international cooperation, good governance, victim protection and violence against women. The standards and norms have made a significant contribution to promoting more effective and fair criminal justice structures in three dimensions. Firstly, they can be utilized at the national level by fostering in-depth assessments leading to the adoption of necessary criminal justice reforms. Secondly, they can help countries to develop subregional and regional strategies. Thirdly, globally and internationally, the standards and norms represent "best practices" that can be adapted by States to meet national needs. The first edition of the Compendium was published in 1992. The second edition was issued in 2006.
The present edition of the Compendium includes a number of new standards and norms that have been developed in the areas of treatment of prisoners, women offenders, legal aid, judicial integrity, justice for children and violence against women, as well as the declarations of the most recent United Nations congresses on crime prevention and criminal justice.
This updated version of the Compendium has been structured in five parts:
1. Persons in custody, non-custodial sanctions and restorative justice
2. Justice for children
3. Crime prevention, violence against women and victim issues
4. Good governance, the independence of the judiciary, the integrity of criminal justice personnel and access to legal aid
5. Legal, institutional and practical arrangements for international cooperation
It is hoped that this updated version of the Compendium will contribute to a wider awareness and dissemination of the United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice and, consequently, will reinforce the respect for the rule of law and human rights in the administration of justice.