Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Reform

UNODC has the mission of making the world safer from crime, drugs, and terrorism. To be effective and sustainable, responses to these threats must include strategies covering the following areas:

Crime prevention and criminal justice strategies must be gender-responsive, human rights compliant and respect the rule of law. Acting as the custodian of the UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, which promote and protect human rights in the administration of justice, UNODC assists Member States in reforming their criminal justice systems in order to be effective, fair and humane for the entire population.

UNODC Justice Section (Division for Operations) supports the development of new or revision of existing standards and norms, and the promotion of their use and application. It develops technical tools to assist Member States in implementing the UN standards and norms and supports Member States through the provision of technical assistance in crime prevention and criminal justice reform. It does so through a number of Global programmes and through support to the UNODC field office network. The Justice Section brochure is available for download in: English , French , Spanish , Arabic , Chinese , and Russian .

UNODC has been developing regional/country programmes covering all thematic areas included in its mandate, with strong crime prevention and criminal justice components based on needs and objectives identified in each region/country. For more information on UNODC's work on crime prevention and criminal justice at field level, please consult each field level entity's webpage on their crime prevention and criminal justice pillar through UNODC's field offices portal.

UN Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The work of UNODC in crime prevention and criminal justice reform is guided by the UN standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice. The UN standards and norms are sets of rules, principles, and guidelines relating to different aspects of criminal justice, such as responding to violence against women, protecting the rights of children, and prison reform. Most of the UN standards and norms are adopted through General Assembly or Economic and Social Council resolutions.

The Compendium of UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice is available for download in: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.

Recent reports of the Secretary-General on the use and application of UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice are also available for download: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Statistics and Surveys

Apart from normative and operational work, UNODC also conducts research in the areas of crime prevention and criminal justice. For further information, please follow the links below: