This article elucidates the perceptions and experiences of young offenders about their own literacy and communication skills. Young offenders (YOs) are usually between the age of 14 and 16. It is estimated that more than 60% of these offenders have difficulties associated with speech, language and communication. Using framework analysis, the authors of this paper, conducted qualitative individual semi-structured interviews and two focus group interviews with court orders of young offenders from a youth offending service. The study showed that the YOs had difficulty understanding others, were not satisfied with their communication and literacy and perceived lack of support and respect from others which influenced their self-esteem negatively. In disputes with authority figures, the YOs avoided confiding or using positive communication to resolve conflicts. This paper highlights the need for improved language, literacy and communication training and support for YOs as well as the staff who work with them.