- 1889 - 1958 (Creation)
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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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Fonds consists of the following records of the Commission, which were turned over to the United Nations when the Commission's functions were transferred to it. Each series documents a particular period of the organization, with the Office of the Treasurer the by the Secretary-General's correspondence next, and finally the Records Registry of the Permanent Office (where the predominant date starts about 1927). Fonds consists of the following record series.
- S-0536-Office of the Treasurer - records of governmental contribution (1893-1929)
- S-0914-Secretary-General's correspondence (1911-1926)
- S-0915-Records Registry files of the permanent office (1912-1958)
Conditions of access: Almost the entire fonds has no access restrictions; one item in S-0915-0051-01 is "Strictly confidential"Some access limitations apply. See the series and file levels of description for details and consult the archivist.
Languages: Most of the records are in French