Detention services company buying rival

Florida-based GEO Group is buying Cornell Companies, another detention services company.

GEO operates the Northwest Detention Center at 1623 E. J St. for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The detention center holds prisoners who face deportation or who face hearings on immigration matters.

The Tacoma detention facility is one of 62 prisons, detention centers and mental health facilities that GEO operates throughout the world. Cornell, of Houston, operates 68 similar facilities. None of Cornell’s facilities is located in the Northwest.

The merger is expected to be completed in the third quarter, the companies said. GEO is paying $685 million in stock and cash for Cornell.

No immediate effect is expected at the Tacoma facility.