The Institute is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of eminent experts from different countries. The Board formulates principles, policies and guidelines, approves the work programme and budget proposal, evaluates the Institute's completed and ongoing activities and reports to the Economic and Social Council through the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (Crime Commission).
The Board is composed of seven elected members serving for five years in their personal capacity and four ex-officio members. The elected members are selected by the Crime Commission, upon the nomination of the Secretary-General, on the basis of equitable geographic representation and from among eminent persons who possess the necessary qualifications and expertise. The four ex-officio members include a representative of the Secretary-General, a representative of the Administrator of United Nations Development Programme, a representative of the Host Country (Italy), and the Director of UNICRI.
Present elected members are:
Ex-officio members are: