The chapter opens with Fagin in court, ready to hear the sentence promulgated against him. Though he hopes against hope that he might be saved, he looks at the faces in the gallery, and at others in the courtroom, and sees he will be convicted. The verdict is read out, and he is indeed guilty. He is to be sentenced to death within several days. He is led to a stone cell, where he is to wait out the remainder of his life.
Fagin's sentence has been decided upon quickly, and will be carried out without delay. The British justice system at this time did not have provisions for appeal, nor the legal protections of "due process," meaning that Fagin will die within days of his trial.
Unrepentant and scared, Fagin can barely sleep. He begins hallucinating that he is still commanding the group of boys, Bates and Oliver included. Then Brownlow arrives with Oliver, and Fagin wonders why they have come to see him.
These final scenes with Fagin seem designed to show how Fagin's power is broken, how his guile and cunning are gone.
Brownlow says they have come about some papers Fagin has, the location of which Fagin tells them—hidden in a chimney in his apartment. Fagin has gone mad in his cell, and Oliver, not afraid of him, prays aloud for Fagin's forgiveness. They leave Fagin, and as Brownlow and Oliver walk out of the prison, they see the gallows looming—about to dispatch the man who once controlled Oliver's life.
In addition, Fagin's cruelty and manipulation is here shown to be no match for Oliver's goodness. Oliver has created an enduring community of love while all of Fagin's manipulation to scare his "boys" into protecting "Number One" has led him only to the gallows, to death.