International Penal and Penitentiary Commission

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International Penal and Penitentiary Commission

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The International Penal and Penitentiary Commission was founded in 1872; dormant 1939-1945; dissolved in 1955.

It was established further to a series of conferences, most notably the First International Congress on the Prevention and Repression of Crime, held in London in 1872.

The original mandate was to collect penitentiary statistics, to encourage penal reform, and to convene further international conferences, in order to advise the participating governments on the reform of criminals, the prevention of crime, and on prison reform. In 1926 a permanent office was established in Bern, Switzerland.

In 1925, 1930, and 1935 the Commission and the League of Nations held joint conferences (in Berlin, London, and Paris). On 14 December 1950 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the recommendation of the Economic and Social Council that the International Penal and Penitentiary Commission functions, which by that time consisted primarily of organizing a conference every 5 years, be transferred to the United Nations.

The conferences were called UN Congresses on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

Names of the Commission varied as follows: International Penal Commission (from 1872), International Penal and Prison Commission (exact dates not established), and International Penal and Penitentiary Commission (1929-1955).


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