According to Statista.com, there were 10,662,552 arrests made in America for 2016. If you believe that this is a staggering high number, recognize that from 1990 through 2016, the lowest amount of arrests in America in a given year was actually in 2016, and the highest amount of arrests in America was in 1997, when it was an astonishing 15.284,300 arrests. Further to the point, ucr.fbi.gov, states that: "The estimated arrest rate for the United States in 2012 was 3,888.2 arrests per 100,000 inhabitants." Not too surprisingly, with that amount of arrests, the amount of people incarcerated in America for 2012, was as reported by hamiltonproject.org, the highest of any nation in the world at 710 per 100,000 inhabitants.
In point of fact, there is a very high correlation to the amount of people being arrested as to the amount of people that subsequently are incarcerated via a conviction for a criminal offense. Especially irksome is that many people believe that only the guilty are arrested in the first place, which turns the whole concept of innocent, until proven guilty, on its head. Additionally, such a high arrest rate signifies that America is truly an outlier amongst all the other western nations in the world in the sense of its apparent wanton lawlessness by its citizens; while also quite clearly showing that penitentiaries of which, in theory the "bad guys" are taken off of the street, thereby reducing crime, apparently does not perform that service, whatsoever.
In reality, two prevailing reasons why so many people are arrested year after year, has a lot more to do with the laws on the books, that necessitates and thereby allows the arresting of people for illicit drug usage as defined by the federal government, as well as for driving under the influence, of which the very definition of driving under the influence varies upon the State you reside in, whether or not you are operating a commercial vehicle, your age, and the ever decreasing allowable Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Basically, in America, many laws are written not so much to protect the innocent but to capture those that are essentially engaging in victimless crimes.
Recognize that anytime a person is arrested, their freedom of movement is also arrested, of which, even if they should later have all the charges dropped, or reduced, or modified, or bargained away; the experience is at a minimum going to be nerve wracking, inconvenient, painful, dangerous, and always involves some sort of expenditure of both time and resources by the person so being arrested. This signifies, that a country that arrests so many people at exceedingly high rates cannot and should not be considered to be the freest country in the world, but has to be seen for what it really is, a class-based police state, that so often concentrates its considerable resources not on rectifying the very things that breed crime, such as bad education, bad housing, low income, dysfunctional families, and lack of opportunity, but instead focuses its attention upon those that do not have the ready means to fight back, and takes from them, the little that they have, and gives it to those that make and selectively enforce those laws in the first place.