The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) is a functional committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is the principal body of the United Nations concerning transnational crime and criminal justice. In the early 1990s, the UN developed a greater interest in criminal justice policy, leading to a recommendation for the creation of the CCPCJ by the UN General Assembly. Its predecessor, the Committee on Crime Prevention and Control, was dissolved with the intent of intensifying “international cooperation in crime prevention and criminal justice” and increasing coordination between existing UN agencies. Therefore, in 1992, the ECOSOC established the CCPCJ as a commission of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with the passage of Resolution 1992/1. The Commission is composed of 40 member states that serve terms of three years. There are quotas for each region of the world to ensure broad discussion and cooperation. Resolution 1992/22 further defined the priorities of the CCPCJ, including: “To plan, implement and evaluate crime prevention and criminal justice assistance projects and to serve as a facilitating agent…with which to assist countries in preventing crime, promoting security, sustaining national development and enhancing justice and respect for human rights.” With such a guideline, the CCPCJ has adopted thematic discussions ranging from money laundering to crime prevention in urban areas.
Topic A: Mental Health Treatment in Prisons
While the provision of mental health treatment is expanding in many countries, there is still a lack of focus on mental health treatment within prison systems. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental or behavioral disorders, and a disproportionate number of those people are, or have been, incarcerated. Factors driving this include disproportionate attention from law enforcement officers, lack of adequate treatment and rehabilitation, poor access to mental health facilities (both in and out of prison), and generalized stigma against those with mental disorders. Unfortunately, incarceration often exacerbates mental illness. Prison conditions commonly include overcrowding, solitary confinement, and threats of violence, making effective treatment more difficult. Those with mental illness have also been found to have higher rates of recidivism, increasing their time spent in prisons and further compromising their mental health. This committee must find a way to promote proper mental healthcare in prisons to relieve the burden on affected individuals as well as to promote true justice around the world.
Topic B: Curbing Corruption to Combat Organized Crime
Corruption and organized crime are deeply interrelated. Organized crime groups rely on corrupt public officials to protect their enterprises from law enforcement and interference, which can involve bribing customs officials, approving border crossings, falsifying official records, “fixing” court cases, turning a blind eye to illicit activity, and persuading other politicians to do the same. In return, organized crime groups grant singular or ongoing bribe payments to officials for continuous information or resort to blackmail and coercion for control. This cycle perpetuates acts of extortion and money-laundering and the smuggling and trafficking of humans, drugs, weapons, organs, and endangered species. The Organized Crime Convention and the United Nations Convention against Corruption are international legal instruments designed to combat organized crime and corruption. The Convention against Corruption tackles corruption with a four-pillared approach: prevention, criminalization, international cooperation, and asset recovery. Delegates must carefully consider the interrelated nature of these four facets in their policies, as the transnational nature of organized crime requires strong international cooperation to assist prosecution, asset recovery, and a reduction in governmental corruption. This may involve designing systems of checks to prevent governmental corruption, establishing models of jurisdiction to prosecute corrupt officials and eliminate loopholes, developing mechanisms to monitor any financial or informational transactions between officials and organized crime groups, and creating new approaches to preventing smuggling and other criminal activity by organized crime groups in various countries.