To Impact

Especially when people are new to the UN, as staff or volunteers, figuring out how to operate effectively can be an enormous challenge. Our Members get access to essential basic training, a “UN 101” so volunteers and new representatives can shave years off their learning curve, and get to work on advocacy and policy issues better and faster.


Stay Updated

The work of the UN is always underway. The Alliance helps you stay abreast of the various stages of UNODC work, new initiatives, meeting deadlines, opportunities to attend formal sessions, and more. Sifting and sorting through the UN website is rarely the way to stay abreast of what is about to happen, when, or where!


Better Together

The Alliance creates a platform for NGOs to work together in the area of work on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. We network, learn from one another, share our strengths, and strengthen the voices that need to be heard.

The Mission of the Alliance

To bring together in one worldwide and multi-disciplinary coalition representatives of non-governmental organizations engaged in research, teaching, practice, advocacy and reform in the fields of crime prevention and criminal justice.

To encourage scholarly, scientific and practical exchange and cooperation among the diverse NGOs engaged and interested in crime prevention and criminal justice throughout the world.

To foster worldwide criminal justice research, scholarship, education, training and advocacy within inter-governmental and governmental institutions as well as in academic and other public organizations and agencies.

To enhance the collective role of the Alliance members through cooperation among affiliated organizations with regard to programs, research projects, publications, conferences and other activities of mutual interest.

To encourage the flow of information and consultation among the international NGO community, the UN Secretariat, national UN delegations, and UN bodies responsible for international policies and programs for crime prevention and criminal justice, including the Centre for International Crime Prevention, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

To assist the UN in the identification of existing and emerging crime and justice issues, in the initiation of research studies and recommendations for action, and in supplying technical assistance in specific areas of Alliance competence.

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In Short, The Alliance…

  • Fosters humane policies, encouraging the development of effective crime prevention and criminal justice strategies and practices domestically and globally.
  • Encourages cooperation between members of the community of nations in addressing shared justice.
  • Advocates respect for the human dignity and the rights of crime victims as well as those accused of criminality; and
  • Works to advance the protection and restoration of the well being of all persons and communities affected by criminality.

Historical Context

New York

The Alliance was formed in 1972 as a coalition of major NGOs having consultative status with the United Nations and dedicated to crime prevention and criminal justice improvements. The Alliance subsequently broadened its membership to include selected NGOs not in consultative status with UN bodies, but actively interested in crime and justice. Organized at the instigation of William Clifford, the first Chief of the then Social Defense Section (now the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch) of the UN’s Economic and Social Council, the Alliance was chaired by G.O.W. Mueller of the New York University during its early years.

The Alliance has continued to evolve and has had active proponents in Vienna since the ’80’s where the UNODC is headquartered. Today the Alliance also has an international office in the San Francisco Bay Area helping connect members of the Alliance not headquartered in Vienna via online and blended meetings, the web-site and more.

Dr. Michael Platzer anchors the work “on the ground” in Vienna with UNODC and the Missions Dr. Karen Judd Smith spearheads the international office of the Alliance from California.

Past Board Members of the NY Alliance can be found here.*


As noted in a 2003 press release, “Since its inception, the Vienna Alliance has laid great emphasis on the elaboration and application of the UN minimum rules for justice administration. The Alliance was strongly involved in the elaboration of some of these standards, such as the “Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials”, drafted in 1987. The worldwide network of NGOs has made a significant contribution towards monitoring the implementation of standards.

“The NGO community has also contributed significantly to the formulation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols addressing trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and fire arms control. The work of the Alliance is strongly supported by the Austrian Ministry of Justice and by the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme.”

*Note: This site has more history of the NY Alliance as the Alliance was founded in NY and this website was originally developed by the NY Alliance and later included the activities of those based in Vienna. It however does not fully represent the rich history of the Alliance of the ’70s and ’80s.

Major Activities of the Alliance—Past

Alliance initiative and organizational efforts were responsible for the development of international treaties and conventions providing for the return o f convicted foreign offenders to their home countries to serve their sentences; the Alliance also originated the requirement in laws applicable to prisoner exchanges, that such exchanges be carried out only with the “consent of the prisoner;”

The Alliance conceived, developed and introduced a code of conduct for law enforcement officers, moving for its adoption by the UN General Assembly;

The Alliance conceived and implemented an international research project on the status of children held in prisons with their mother; it also published the conclusions of the project for distribution to interested parties throughout the world;

The Alliance drafted rules for the treatment of foreign prisoners which standards were subsequently approved by the UN General Assembly;

The Alliance actively assisted the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch, in preparation for the 7th UN Crime Congress, held in Havana, Cuba in 1990, with the drafting of guidelines regarding alternatives to imprisonment;

In 1993 the Alliance released the findings of an international survey on the status of prison health care, including a recommended list, of minimum standards for use by prison system’s worldwide. Upon the request of individual countries, the Alliance identified local resources for assistance in implementing these standards;

In late 1992 the Alliance formed a Working Party on Crime Prevention to assist the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch in fulfilling the UN Crime Commission’s mandate for study of this subject;

The Alliance’s Working Party on Restorative Justice has been formulating restorative justice standards considered by the 9th UN Crime Congress, held in Vienna April 2000, and for further UN and international action;

In addition to work on substantive crime prevention and criminal justice issues, the Alliance has been instrumental in the development of ancillary meetings sponsored by the NGO community worldwide to supplement the official programs at the UN Crime Congresses, held every five years. The Alliance has assumed responsibility for arrangements, scheduling, and the provision of simultaneous interpretation for these ancillary meetings, which are unique within the UN system;

The Alliance has established and sponsored an Information Center to coordinate and conduct criminal justice surveys developed by the Alliance and its Working Parties. The Center responds to requests for assistance and information from individuals and organization, as well as countries around the world. Center activities have increase in recent years due to the dramatic political changes within the former Soviet Eastern Bloc and in several African and Asian countries. Finding themselves ill equipped to deal effectively with emerging criminal justice issues, many of the countries and their NGOs have found the Information Center’s data invaluable.


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About the ALLIANCE

The Alliance is a transnational non-governmental platform for engaging relevant stakeholders on issues of crime prevention and criminal justice to advance human rights, peace and security through the rule of law and a culture of lawfulness.
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