You definitely need a lawyer, and preferably one familiar with your county.
I am not licensed to practice in Tennessee, so I am not familiar with the law there. Even if I was, what you need is a lawyer who is familiar with Tennessee law, and one who is familiar with the judge and/or prosecutor.
The prosecutor is likely to bring up the exact point you made: "how do we know that you will not abscond again?" If I were in his shoes, I would make the same argument. Even if he does not, the judge will, most likely, be thinking the same thing himself.
Often, the law gives the judge some leeway in what to do in a case like this. A local, experienced criminal defense lawyer can not only tell you what the judge can do, he can also give you an idea of what the judge is likely to do. He can also advise you on the most effective strategy for getting your boyfriend's probation reinstated.
When you go to court tomorrow, you should ask for some time to hire an attorney, and then you should do just that.
I think that I answered your question a few days ago, but if not:
A great deal will hinge on the reasons he absconded, what his underlying charge was, his prior record, and the Judge he is appearing before. With Community Corrections you face the potential of having your sentence increased, which should be a major concern.
He should have an attorney already. If he does not, he needs to get one ASAP.
He will want to articulate to his lawyer the reasons that he absconded. It should still be possible to be reinstated. He will also want to let his lawyer know how much time he completed successfully while on probation and how many of his conditions were completed. Further, his probation officer will have a big say in whether or not he gets reinstated. Usually a Judge will want to know what probation has to say on the matter. I am not licensed in TN and am answering this based on my knowledge of VOP and how it works in FL. It should be pretty similar.
Yes retaining an attorney is key, prefferably one that knows the court, judge, DA and Probation officer. The key is to have a plan that can be presented to the court to ensure future compliance with probation. Knowng the situation for the missing in probation is important as is clar remorse to the court.