RICHMOND, NOV. 14 -- The Virginia Senate Finance Committee, prompted by projections that show the state's inmate population increasing rapidly in the next five years, has endorsed a plan to expand the proposed 1,200-cell prison in Greensville County to 1,700 cells.

In the 1987 General Assembly session, the state's inmate forecast for 1992 was 13,372, said Sen. Howard P. Anderson (D-Halifax), head of a subcommittee recommending the expansion.

However, that figure has been updated and now ranges as high as 15,377, he said.

"With the new forecast, we will need to plan for additional spaces in our state correctional system, both in secure facilities and in community corrections," Anderson said.

In addition to the Greensville prison, the state plans to build a 500-cell prison in Buchanan County and to expand a few existing prisons.

The new space is needed partly because of plans to close the aging State Penitentiary in Richmond by 1990.

Anderson said that $110 million in prison construction revenue bonds authorized by the legislature this year must be increased, though he did not estimate by how much.

Edward W. Murray, director of the state Department of Corrections, said he thought the administration of Gov. Gerald L. Baliles will back the bigger construction plan for Greensville because of the fast-growing inmate population.